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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Movie Review: Unlucky Plaza

Image courtesy of Facebook: Unlucky Plaza / a Ken Kwek film

Cast: Epy Quizon, Adrian Pang, Judee Tan, Shane Mardjuki
Director: Ken Kwek
MTRCB RATING: R-16

How does a hardworking Filipino immigrant go hell-broke in a foreign land that he loves so much? In trying to untangle himself from his predicament, he gets scammed out in the process, losing all of his life’s savings. Will he have a choice in the end?

The film begins with the three main characters – Onassis, Michelle and Sky – shown being interviewed on television recounting that horrible ordeal they had together. In the movie, the tv interview appears like a formal storytelling with each one of them telling the viewers how they were able to come out of it alive a year after. Unfortunately, this kind of presentation defeats and spoils the suspense in the story.

The first half of the movie is like an introduction of each character as they appear based on the sequence of the interview, and not exactly how the story develops. Thus, it’s only in the second half as the film progresses, that the viewer gets to see the gist and what the story is all about.

Epy as the immigrant Onassis Hernandez is so convincing in his portrayal, you’d think it was tailored for him. His role as a restaurant owner in Lucky Plaza fits him to a T. His business is fast going bankrupt and he is struggling financially. Consequently, he is faced with mounting bills and rent to settle as his landlady is threatening him with eviction. His only son from a failed marriage wants them to relocate to the Philippines but Onassis will not hear of it for he loves to be live Singapore for what it can offer him.

Throughout the film, Onassis expresses his desire for a pink identification card (NRIC) given to all Singaporeans, but obtaining Singapore citizenship always eludes him.

Drinking his sorrows away alone in a bar, Onassis gets to meet Michelle, a gorgeous but lonely wife of Sky, a rich motivational speaker (and con-artist) who markets a wealth paradigm but is equally debt-ridden himself. Michelle, in connivance with her paramour pastor who dabbles as a property consultant leads Onassis to a rental scam. She runs away with his money to finance her escape from her husband.

The series of events finds the fuming mad Onassis and the pastor with Sky and Michelle in the couple’s mansion, with Onassis determined to get his money back. The presence of the Chinese gangster cum loan-shark who is after Sky’s neck further compounds the very tense situation. Push comes to shove for Onassis at this point as he tries to get justice into his own hands versus his oppressors. Armed with a toy gun and a meat cleaver – he takes hostage all four of them.

The situation quickly catches media attention when Onassis publicizes his act on social media, calling himself as a reluctant hostage taker and his hostages as the real bad guys. It is this part of the story that the movie probably redeems itself as the viewers watch with bated breath the long and suspense-packed confrontations among the hostage-taker, the hostages and the authorities that led to a violent end.

The story reveals what most of us don’t know – that in spite of its wealth and reputation, there are real issues of unhappiness in Singapore society. Director Kwek sends a message especially to Singaporeans, with many of them wanting to give up their citizenship for greener pasture elsewhere. Kwek prompts the audience to think about their identity and uses Onassis' experience as a reminder.

For his role Onassis in this crime thriller, Epy Quizon won Best Actor at the Singapore International Film Festival.

Unlucky Plaza is showing in some cinemas.

24 comments:

  1. I like it but parang lahat ng cast singaporean in a way na napagtulunga si epi sa cast na it rubs you in wrong way na masa ugali ng pilipino

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    Replies
    1. Singapore is just a made up country by the evil British Empire just like Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, and Australia! These are all parts of the Srivijayan And Majapahit Empire where the central ruler is from Maharlikha...Ginulo lang ng Roman Islam backed by the British at Roman Catholic backed by Spain ang History nito...

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    2. 1:53 Wow that's very interesting. I have always thought of Singapore as a country na walang totoong kultura. Singapore is just some country in SEAsia put together by the British colony.

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    3. 1:53am tama sana lahat ng sinabi mo until binanggit mo ying maharlika. Do you mean former philippines? Anak ng pating hindi nga kasama buong pilipinas jan, visayas at some parts ng mindanao lang. Yung luzon na dating 'Lusong' may sariling mundo noh! Nasa malaysia/indonesia yung central. Mga pinoy talaga pabida

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  2. Hay nako. Typical SG cr*p to assert their dominance to Filipinos. This is discrimination in disguise. Boycott!

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    Replies
    1. Natural sa SG pinalabas yan. Dito nga kung gumawa tayo ng mga movies na may intsik kadalasan resto owner o dvd vendor

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    2. 8:56 or rich businessman. Makahugot ka lang? Haha

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  3. I watched the movie with reservations, gave it the benefit of the doubt. What I found out? Magaling talaga ang Pinoy, Epy stood out in this movie as compared to his foreign co-stars, madadala ka talaga. Congrats to the max, Epy!

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  4. To be honest, this movie is amateurish if you compare it to a regular Filipino movie. High standard pa rin ang Pinoy. Just saying.

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    Replies
    1. High standard? Please define standard!

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  5. ok naman ang movie. napanood ko ito sa in-flight entertainment ng SQ. so proud of Epy. magaling talaga siya!

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  6. I saw the movie. Napahanga talaga ako kay Epy Quizon dahil dito! His performance in the film is something for us to be proud of.

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  7. Reading this review I wouldn't know na marami din palang discontented sa Singapore. Bakit naman kaya eh very progressive cla. O sadya lang wala talaga kasiyahan ang tao.

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    Replies
    1. Masyado sila kasing racist at ma-stereotype. Tingin nila sa lahat ng pinoy sa Singapore ay domestic helpers.

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    2. 11:25 The sad reality is that a good chunk of Pinoys in Singapore are DH.

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    3. Hinde aq dh at mrmi nmn aqng sporean frnds at hnde sila racist..ang mga pinoy lng kasi prting me victim mentality

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    4. maraming professionals na pinoy sa sg. sa hk mas madaming dh

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    5. sinaporeans are polite and decent, but they are racists deep inside

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  8. Epy Quizon -- congrats !! I hope they give him more lead roles...

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  9. Na-intrigue ako with thiS review. Parang I wanna watch :)

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  10. Epy is such an underrated actor. What a waste.

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    Replies
    1. True, napaka vain kasi ng Filipino showbiz. Parang walang hanganang beauty contest lang.

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  11. I thought Adrian Pang retired from MCorp..Press release lang pala nia..

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