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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Nov 27, 2022





MICAELLA RAZ plays a very demanding role in her launching flick, Vivamax’ “Bata Pa si Sabel”, produced by Brillante Mendoza and the directorial debut of Reynold Giba that will start streaming on December 2. 

She plays a young bride who, on her wedding night, is brutally raped by three guys and, not only that, her husband, played by Benz Sangalang, is ruthlessly killed by their tormentors. 

The bad guys thought they have also killed her and she is thrown into the sea, but it turns out she survived the ordeal. 

Nursed back to health by a former soldier, Julio Diaz, she returns to their town to exact vengeance and kill the three guys who murdered her husband: JC Tan, Rash Flores and Chad Solano.

“Yes, napakahirap po ng role ko kasi intense drama ang ipinakita sa scenes na nagmamakaawa ako sa rapists na huwag patayin ang asawa ko,” she says. 

“And later, ipinakitang nagte-training naman po ako para sa fight scenes na gagawin ko. 

"Very violent po yung pagpatay ko roon sa tatlong guys, lalo na sa last one, kay JC Tan, dahil lumaban siya at nagulpi niya rin ako nang husto. 

"Salamat talaga kina DIrek Reynold and Direk Brillante sa paggabay nila sa akin all throughout the shoot.”  

Vivamax subscribers will most certainly not be disappointed as they will be abundantly served with their weekly dose of sex and violence in “Bata Pa si Sabel”. 

Micaella as Sabel fulfills the usual quota of raunchy sex scenes with her groom, Benz, plus the violent rape scenes with JC, Rash and Chad. 

Later on, she will have more nude bedscenes again with all the bad guys before slitting their throats. 

The guys have no qualms at all about taking it all off. JC also has nude love scenes with Steffanie Raz as his wife and Angela Morena as his lover who happens to be Micaella’s best friend, and yet, she betrays her.  

There are other assorted bed scenes and, in the film’s climactic vengeance scenes, Micaella is shown willingly and wildly copulating first with Chad, Rash and JC before killing them. 

How she can stomach doing that when she hates all of them to the bones is beyond us. 

The murder scene with Rash is particularly more savagely vicious because she is shown cutting off his sex organ, then stuffing it into his open mouth. Micaella is an expert with knives and she kills all her victims by slicing them. 

The killing scenes with Chad and JC are veritable blood baths. 

They must have allotted a big budget for the fake blood used in these scenes, specially with JC who Micaella is shown stabbing, skewering, perforating, dicing and wantonly gashing repeatedly that she must have turned his carcass into mince meat. 

Yes, naging giniling na lang po si JC sa dami ng saksak at pagwakwak ni Micaella sa kanya.   

Director Giba is very good in staging and blocking the sex and stabbing scenes. 

But we wish he had a better grip on his storytelling and with less dizzying camerawork.

The narrative meanders and there are scenes that make so “laylay” we find them so cumbersome.  

It’s common knowledge that Direk Brillante Mendoza and his protege directors don’t use a full script in telling their stories and it shows in this movie. 

There are several story strands that are developed but didn’t go anywhere and were just left hanging in the air. 

We don’t know why they gave so much importance to the resort caretaker who saw what happened to Micaella and Benz. 

His mother is shown looking for him everywhere when he disappears but we never really get to know what happened to him. 

Other characters, notably Rey Abellana and Carlene Aguilar as the parents of Benz are also given undue exposure then they suddenly vanish into thin air. 

It is also revealed that Micaella and JC have the same father, Gardo Versoza, so JC was fornicating with his own sister.

But the biggest subplot concerns Julio Diaz as a whistleblower whose family was massacred by Gardo years ago. 

We thought Julio will also give Gardo the punishment he deserves but it seems this subplot was suddenly forgotten and the movie ended without going back to it again. 

A good film editor will be able to prune all the superfluous scenes in this movie that make it a test of patience to quicken its pacing. 

As it is, it runs for an unnecessary two hours. The idea of a lead actress taking revenge on her tormentors has been done several times before. 

The real forerunner is, of course, Francois Truffaut’s 1968 “The Bride Wore Black”, where Jeanne Moreau disguises and assumes various identities to kill the men who murdered her young husband. 

It also calls to mind “I Spit on Your Grave”,  which has several versions. 

Locally, we have Hilda Koronel and Andi Eigenmann in the two versions of “Angela Markado” and “Magdalena Palacol Story” starring Alma Moreno.