Wednesday, August 15, 2018

We Will Not Die Tonight

Stuntwoman Kray (Erich Gonzales) is having a hard time making ends meet. She clearly has passion for what she is doing, but her abrasive personality does not often sit well with directors and producers. Enter Ramil (Alex Medina), the ex-boyfriend who is proposing a new illegal gig, presenting it as a one-time big-time gamble that will change their lives for the better. Joining the team are Jonesky (Thou Reyes), Che Che (Max Eigenmann), and Rene Boy (Nico Dans). The four of them meet up with gang leader Bangkil (Paolo Paraiso) who reveals that their new project is not really a part of the drug trade. They now harvest organs from abducted children. As their moral compass kicks in, the friends try to back out from the agreement, but blood is shed and now they literally have to fight their way out of their predicament. Who will survive to see the light of day?

Unlike BuyBust which has a clear socially relevant theme to anchor its narrative on, We Will Not Die Tonight does not have the same luxury. The issue of organ harvesting is shown to be the crux of the storyline, but they do not go beyond scratching the surface. The film does not educate you on how such illegal trade works or who are behind it. In short, it is just used as a front, a not so convincing justification for all the violence and gore that you will be witnessing for almost two hours straight.

Without a timely issue to back it up, the film has to rely on its fight choreography and visuals to keep the audience entertained, except that the director doesn’t seem to know what he really wants to offer. What you get is this weird mix of passive-aggressive action that isn’t sure if it wants to be a full-on rampage or not. You have characters shooting other characters in the head, stabbing an enemy with a machete. And yet there are many instances in which they are about to deliver the blow, but all you get is a facial close-up of the assailant instead of showering us with the gory details of the victim’s demise. In the absence of social relevance, at least opt for shock and awe. What you get, instead, is shock and hesitate.

Gonzales is pretty good. With her petite size you will doubt if she can actually give this role justice, but her body movement convinces you otherwise. With every punch or kick thrown, you can feel the intensity of her action. The force is tangible onscreen and you just know that she isn’t faking it. Perhaps she won’t be able to take you down in a real fight, but she can surely give you some serious ass whooping before bowing out.

The plot does not unfold like a legit action movie, but rather resembles that of a slasher flick. The only difference is that the victims are not sitting ducks, they fight back. Even so, the flow of events is similar. They go down one by one and the sequence can’t get any more cliché, with the best friend falling first, followed by the boyfriend, and then eventually the heroine, after she faces off with the much more powerful big boss. Maybe that’s just how the formula works?

That the Cinema Evaluation Board (CEB) refused to give this movie a rating is telling because it seems to jive with the observation regarding the narrative’s lack of purpose, not that anyone listens to the CEB anyway. We Will Not Die Tonight will give you an adrenaline rush here and there, but after too much pointless slashing and shooting you just end up asking yourself why you have to sit through this vicious mess, unless senseless violence gives you life.

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