You may be thinking of that song from Sound of Music or that Ben Stiller movie with Cameron Diaz, but its neither of the two. This is a movie review of a recent film starring Christine Reyes –Maria.
The movie starts with Reyes going through her mission as the assassin, Lily. It is a great scene and I love the fact that they made her sort of a ninja showing her beautiful eyes. Reyes is known for pretty eyes and dimples and you will get right away that it is her in that ninja outfit. A good movie especially a good action movie ideally shows first the protagonist’s abilities to show what she’s capable of, and this movie delivers it.
Parting her old ways, she is now known as Maria. Living her life as a supportive wife and a caring mother, she may have been living a perfect and peaceful life—up until her former colleague found her. Formerly presumed dead, she is now on the grasp of her dark past and is fighting for the people she loves.
Maria is the second movie where I have seen a female lead, who used to be this cutesy, non-dangerous-can’t-even-hurt-fly image of an actress, to become an action star. The first one is Anne Curtis in Buy Bust where she received a good reception. Some people might think that this may become a trend for local films but if you ask me personally if it works, the answer is yes.
Like Buy Bust, Maria also has amazing fight scenes. There is even a ‘gun-fu’ here. Imagine a beautiful young wife and mother who does martial arts like you see in action movies like The Raid: Redemption and Kingsman. One memorable scene for me is the ‘palengke’ scene. I cannot remember a good action scene as good as that one, especially in a wet market.
Gone are the days where we see male action stars in movies that with so much machismo, they appear to show sexism. Women are often objectified and portrayed as weak. Today, we are getting movies with strong female characters like Wonder Woman, Lara Croft, Black Widow and Captain Marvel. I hope to see more movies like Maria and Buy Bust.
Going back to the movie, you may have thought I will only give praise, but there are also setbacks in this movie. One example is the scenes with the villains. Yes, it is ideal to show how notoriously bad they are. However, showing too much is not good. There are two torture scenes here that if taken out, the movie would still have a decent story. Another is some of the actors’ acting. Some are spot on but some are a bit stale. There are some who seem to be just reading a script or trying his/her best to memorize a line. There is one actor who said a line that is apparently should be said sarcastically but was not.
One thing that bothers me is that why these villains wear black especially during a hot humid day. Some even wore leather jackets. I would give it a pass if it is set in Europe or any country that has a cold climate. A ‘bad guy’ can look ‘bad’ even without wearing black. Try brown or fatigue green at least.
Regardless of a few shortcomings, this film is still good. Kudos to Director Pedring Lopez and his staff for they did a marvelous job. I give it a 7 out of 10. I would consider this in my list of favorite local films alongside On the Job and Heneral Luna. Don’t miss it. Watch Maria.