Movie review: 'Bekis on the Run' a mix-up of genres, advocacies

Fred Hawson

Posted at Sep 19 2021 09:39 AM

Andres (Diego Loyzaga) and his gay brother Donald (Christian Bables) staged a hold-up at a construction site office to get money for the kidney transplant operation of Donald's adoptive mother, Nanay Pacing (Lou Veloso). When their plans went awry, they had to go on the run. They took the pretty secretary Adriana (Kylie Verzosa) with them in tow, and hid out in the house of Donald's on-and-off boyfriend Martin (Sean de Guzman). 

It seemed effortless for Christian Bables to play the swishy Donald, a young gay guy with angst, like his breakthrough character Barbs in "Die Beautiful" (2016). He did not wear dresses here, but engaged in torrid kissing scenes with film stud of the year, Sean de Guzman. In contrast, Diego Loyzaga did a lot of macho posturing to emphasize that Andres is not gay. While Kylie Verzosa nailed her drama scenes, she seemed nervous doing comedy. 

The character of Nanay Pacing was an honest and compassionate transgender woman who made it her mission in life to take bullied gay boys off the street and care for them in her home. Lou Veloso went all out drag -- wig, make-up, dresses -- for this role that had him go through an entire spectrum of emotions with his tongue fully in-cheek, as he dealt with his wards of all ages from the oldest (Jim Pebanco) to the youngest (Kenken Nuyad).

A standout supporting character was the widowed cashier of the construction company, Upeng, played by indie actress Tabs Sumulong. She stole her scenes with her sharp-witted tongue and boldness with physical comedy. She also shared some heartwarming scenes with Veloso's Pacing. 

Johnny Revilla and Lander Vera Perez were nothing more than one-dimensional bad guys as Adriana's abusive father and brother respectively. 

Despite the silly title, director Joel Lamangan and writer Ricky Lee actually tackled LGBT solidarity and activism here. The whole film was an uneven mixed-up roller-coaster of genres. There was a little crime action at the start, a lot of family melodrama in the middle, with a generous helping of slapstick comedy all around, with sex scenes in the middle for a drastic change of pace, while throwing shade at toxic masculinity and gays in the military.

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."