Review: Heneral Luna (2015)

 photo heneralluna_zps5iwnt7mr.jpg
Photo from FB/Heneral.Luna

Heneral Luna was very much worth waking up early on a weekend for. That says everything since I LOVE sleeping in until 1pm on a non-working day.

When I first heard of Heneral Luna, I thought it’s another one of ER Ejercito’s movies so my interest on it was nil. Then M told me that it’s directed by Sana Dati’s Jerrold Tarog, so that pretty much convinced me to watch it.

Here are my thoughts on Jerrold Tarog’s Heneral Luna (might contain spoilers):

1.) I really can’t find fault with this film. Every element of the movie just worked.

Pacing and storytelling were good. Cinematography, music and scoring were effective.

Acting was amazing. Dialogues were conversant, often times funny, and at the same time, poetic (“May delegado ba tayo sa Treaty of Paris? O tagapagmasid? Para kayong mga birhen na naniniwala sa pag-ibig ng puta!“).

Heneral Luna was captivating to watch from the beginning to the end.

2.) Heneral Luna is an ode to the roots of our country’s problems (I’m not saying that it’s Aguinaldo, but lemejaz remind you guys that DOTC’s Abaya is his great grandson #MRTBulok huehuehue).

The country’s problems then are still the problems now: the selfishness of opportunists, the incompetence of our government, our blinded love for the Westerners, and Filipino’s inability to truly, selflessly love our country.

We always see our ancestors as the mighty Katipuneros, the itak-wielding heroes. Heneral Luna showed us that not all Filipinos then were willing to “mamatay ng dahil sayo“. The honesty is refreshing.

3.) I was thinking “Benjamin Alves would very much fit in this film” then towards the ending, there he was. Ah, love. #bae4lyf

4.) I admire how Luna was not portrayed as this perfect super human being. We saw his flaws (the scene where he almost killed himself was VERY humanizing) and he’s called for what he really was – a dictator. The title dictator has so much negative impact on Filipinos, yet Luna was referred to as one in the movie, and that’s ok. Either you sympathize with him or not.

5.) It’s a big plus that dialogues were conversational even if Heneral Luna is set in late 1800s and early 1900s. I especially admired Archie Alemania’s character’s (Eduardo Rusca) informality.

6.) I also like how well women were portrayed. I almost sang Queen B’s Who Run the World when Rusca said “buti pa yung mga babae” and the women laughed at those cowards who ran away in the middle of a gunfight between Filipino forces and the Americans.

Mylene Dizon’s role was also a great portrayal of sobriety (“Bahala kayo ni Antonio, Tomas. Para kayong mga bata!”). #peg4lyf

7.) Among my favorite scenes were the exchange of messages between Luna and Tomas Mascardo (Lorenz Martinez). It was so intense and perfectly-paced. I almost asked the moviehouse operator to play those scenes it again so I can enjoy it one more time.

8.) The regional division thingy is SOOOOO true, and is pretty much still applicable today. This is so evident during the elections.

9.) Heneral Luna is a manifestation of indeed, history was written by the winners. The role of Americans were somehow pacified in history books. We all know that PH was sold to US by Spain, but at that angle, Spain was always the only bad guys. US was always the one who saved the day.

We were taught that Spaniards were oppressive and Japanese were barbaric. US were the lesser evil.

At least the movie showed history in a different light. Punyeta, those American bastards!

10.) The line when the Americans said something like “You killed the best general you have” while drinking liquor and laughing with an evil tone really got me. Punyeta, those American bastards!

11.) A very sensitive subject was also touched – Filipino vs Filipino in the times of war. I cannot remember if history books show us this. There’s only Filipinos vs Spaniards, Americans, and Japanese.

12.) Another unpopular subject was touched: autonomy or freedom? Schools always teach us that our heroes fought for our freedom, but not all knows that some “heroes” were not actually fighting for sovereignty but for autonomy.

13.) John Arcilla IS Antonio Luna. He was a delight to watch. He perfectly embodied Luna’s temper and craziness.

I LOVED the exchange of words between him and Felipe Buencamino (Nonie Buencamino). I swear, if a movie is to be made with these two actors and the plot is just them fighting, I would gladly pay to watch that.

14.) The movie also made me so ashamed to be a present Filipino.

What the people do not realize is our great grandfathers (and great grandmothers!) fought for our country once upon a time, and how do we repay them?

By electing incompetent leaders. Punyeta!

15.) The “Spoliarium” scene was a nice touch. OMG did I shiver. I was already crying at that point in the movie, so… my eyes can only handle so much tears, sir.

16.) I think I ABSOLUTELY LOVED Heneral Luna because
a.) I love history
b.) I consider myself a patriot and I always had (and still have) an illusion that I can change this country.

The whole movie, I was thinking if I live during those time, will I be a Luna soldier, or an Aguinaldo soldier? Will I be on the side of Luna fighting for freedom, or will I be with Buencamino and Paterno (Leo Martinez) and would welcome the American forces with open arms?

Heneral Luna made me sad. For what reason, I’m not sure. Maybe because of how unfair Luna was treated. Maybe because after all these time, nothing in this country has changed.

If you have time, my dear reader who I shall name Ricardo, please do watch Heneral Luna. If I have to beg, I will.


Jerrold Tarog, take a curtsy.


After watching Heneral Luna, I read an article that MMDA released the revised list of Metro Manila Film Festival, and that saddens me.

The list made me cry. Some of the movies were obviously made with money in mind, and not to make the audience think.

This happens every year, unfortunately.

If there’s one thing I learned from our college thesis, artists (singers, filmakers) should NOT give people ONLY what they WANT, but also what they NEED.

We need movies like Heneral Luna. We need them so bad.

Edit: Mon Confiado (Aguinaldo) and Jerrold Tarog were guests at GMA News TV’s News To Go, and of course we didnt miss the chance for some photos!

Envious? #heneralluna

A photo posted by Jamaica Jane (@aikalog) on

Mon and I were practically best friends. Look

"walang kontrabida sa pelikulang ito; lahat may paninindigan" #heneralluna #newstogo

A photo posted by Jamaica Jane (@aikalog) on

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September 14, 2015