Hitboy CineFilipino 2018 Review: Alex (Adrian Cabido) is a fifteen year-old boy who, out of desperation, had to take a job as a gun-for-hire. His father is confined in critical condition in the hospital, and his girlfriend may be giving birth soon. Not to mention that he has to support his younger brother to keep him from dropping out of school.
Bor Ocampo’s “Hitboy” starts off with an interesting tone. Alex’ phone alarm goes off, after which is reluctantly goes to the streets, stealing an unguarded bicycle along the way. From here the film continues to go on a cheery mood, following Alex’ seemingly spontaneous roadtrip that ends in a secluded farm. Things turn dark when he meets the farmer tending the lands, telling the farmer that he only wishes to ask for a few mangoes. Clearly though, Alex has a more sinister motive in mind.
Hitboy CineFilipino Trailer
Hitboy CineFilipino 2018 Review
This dark, sullen tone goes on as we follow Alex’ story. His arc pulls the audience to the predicament of a child who had to get his hands dirty at a young age, treading on themes reminiscent of films like Eduardo Roy Jr. “Pamilya Ordinaryo”, or Brilliante Mendoza’s “Kinatay”. Alex is unwillingly thrown into a situation where he had to lose his childhood and humanity so that others may survive.
As we move on to the second act, the film appears to take on a different structure. The moody atmosphere has morphed into a comedic one. We are introduced to Alex’ ruthless boss Ricky (Soliman Cruz) who orders him to assassinate the equally brutal movie star Mon Confiado (interestingly, played by Mon Confiado himself), who is secretly an underground mobster. While scenes with Alex and his family feel somber and desperate, the film’s villains are comical, even cartoonish.
The contrast in comedy and suspense may be the film’s method of showing that to Alex, the weight of the world is on his shoulders but to the merciless antagonists, this is just another day to be laughed off. While this technique may be smart, it also became one of the film’s pitfalls. “Hitboy’s” structure ended up wobbly and not cohesive, making it hard to empathize with the plight of Alex. It also didn’t help that several of the film’s characters are one-dimensional caricatures.
To be fair, “Hitboy” has its redeeming moments. Juan Miguel Salvado, who played Alex’ younger brother Jay-jay, is a gem among the younger actors, while Soliman Cruz and Mon Confiado seemed to be enjoying their portrayal the film’s villains. It’s remarkable how these seasoned actors molds characters that are both menacing yet fatherly at the same time.
While “Hitboy” may not be on top of my list for CineFilpino 2018, it at least lands as one of the most memorable. Especially with that “Confiadio” earworm playing in my head.