Review: Gagamboy (2003)

Directed by:
Cast: , ,

Not available in Australia on DVD (to our knowledge)

Ever wondered where super-heroes get their costumes? Or what to do when you wake up one morning festooned with orange goo? Well, Gagamboy will answer all your questions, and give you a jolly good time to boot.

Gagamboy is absolutely the most fun you’ll ever have in public. After all, who could resist a film with a poor but honest hero, lovely heroine, moustache-twirling villain, and of course some toxic waste that turns the hero into Gagamboy (Spiderboy) and the villain into Ipisman (Cockroachman)? If you’ve always wanted a film with a giant cockroach, then look no further.

The pace is fast, keeping the audience attentive and interested, and the performances are spot on. The actors push their characters to the limit of camp, and not a jot over. The whole thing is meticulously crafted to produce a startlingly good adventure comedy that succeeds like few have succeeded before, and on a budget roughly equivalent to my weekly chocolate expenditure.

Director Eric Matti wanted a super-hero film in a sub-hero setting, a low-budget extravaganza that set the contest not in a big city full of skyscrapers, but in a shanty town. A hero whose concerns are all in the neighbourhood, and a villain whose goal is not to conquer the world, Muahahahaha, but to win the local lovely by fair means or foul. Well, just foul, really, and that’s lucky, because he’s not going to score looking like a giant cockroach.

And Matti succeeds brilliantly: I saw this one at the Hong Kong International Film Festival in April 2004, and it was easily my Best Of The Fest. Along the way, he’s also created a film that harks back to the glory days of cinema: the Saturday matinee at the town hall, with a packed audience of cinema-goers eager for some buckle and swash. Uncomplicated, fast, and fun, this film will have you wanting to cheer the hero, hiss the villain, and roll Jaffas down the aisles.

9.5 rejected rubber costumes out of 10.
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