10 Philippine Action Movies You Need To Watch

Updated on April 20, 2016

Many Filipino movies during the late 70s and early 80s received attention overseas, particularly ones that depicted urban life in the country. The quality is seen to have petered out during the late 80s and 90s, as the industry focused more on easy-to-produce popcorn flicks and low budget action fare.

However, over the past decade, Filipino filmmakers have gained access to Hollywood-level budgets, and on the other hand, indie filmmakers have also started making their own mark. This led to a resurgence of quality in the industry, and nowhere is this more apparent than in action movies. If you want a good sampling of quality Philippine Action movies, here are ten films that you need to check out:

10 Funny and Adorable romantic comedies from Thailand.

#1 - On The Job (OTJ)

Synopsis

OTJ tackles the subject of corruption among the police and government officials, with two prisoners serving as the focal points of the narrative: the young hot-blooded Daniel and his mentor-figure partner Mario. Both inmates work as hitmen for hire, and are periodically released from prison in order to perform their hits.

Why You Have to Watch It

  • The film is full of twists and turns without losing the plot. Betrayals and sudden reveals occur several times throughout the film.
  • OTJ features rom-com actors showing that they will make effective action stars under the right director and script.
  • The producers will most likely not admit it out of self-preservation, but the story seems to be based on real people and it shines a light on the corruption and bureaucracy that plagues the Philippines.
  • Lots and lots of gunfights that are stylish but aren’t over the top. Coupled with the gritty yet sleek cinematography, the film can be enjoyed as a pure popcorn action flick.

#2 - The Janitor

Synopsis

Based on the bloodiest bank heist in the history of the Philippines, The Janitor delves into the Mabuhay Savings Bank robbery in 2011, which left ten employees dead and more than 10 million pesos stolen from the vaults. The film frames the narrative using an ex-cop who has been ordered to hunt down the perpetrators one by one.

Why You Have to Watch It

  • It’s based on a true story, but it doesn’t mean that the action is boring. There are a lot of adrenaline pumping shootouts throughout the film, both in daylight and nighttime.
  • The film does not paint everything in black and white: the title “Janitor” refers to the fact that the protagonist is a law enforcer that has been tasked with going beyond the law in order to clean up a messy case, as the people behind the robbery have connections that would otherwise drag influential people down. The film ultimately questions if catching criminals justifies breaking the law itself.

#3 - Mistah

Synopsis

Mistah focuses on a platoon of Filipino soldiers who have been stationed away from their families, as they help fight against fellow countrymen who have chosen to fight against the government as rebels.

Why You Need to Watch It

  • If you like military warfare, the film might scratch your itch. It features tons of engagements between the protagonists and the rebel armies, and despite some of the cast members being popular 90s action stars, they have completely toned down the over-the-top acrobatics and gun ballet scenes that defined the 90s.
  • The film also tackles the sacrifices that soldiers need to make in order to serve their country, and delves into the conflict between Muslim rebels and Christian soldiers in some parts of the country. This is further made even more interesting by the fact that several of the protagonists are also followers of the Muslim faith themselves.

#4 - Squalor

Synopsis

Also known locally as “Astig,” Squalor focuses on four local tough guys who try to survive hand to mouth, while living in the squalor and cruelty of Manila.

Why You Need to Watch It

  • The fight scenes in Squalor are mostly hand to hand, and they’re raw – you won’t see acrobatics or martial arts. Just a bunch of normal men pounding each other with their fists.
  • It’s a somewhat exaggerated look at the lives of juvenile delinquents in manila, as well as the men that they eventually grow up into.

#5 - Boy Golden

Synopsis

Boy Golden is a loosely based on the life of Arturo Porcuna, who became one of the most prominent gangsters in Manila’s underworld during the 60s.

Why You Should Watch It

  • Don’t let the cheesy looking poster fool you into thinking that this is a low-budget affair. Boy Golden in reality looks like it had the budget to make everything look good. It uses thematic lighting to great effect, and the attention to detail (remember that this is a period piece) in costumes, props, and settings are exceptional.
  • It’s a gangster film, so there are lots and lots of gunfights to be had. If you enjoy ambushes and gunfights between rival groups of gangsters, Boy Golden won’t disappoint you.

#6 - 10,000 Hours

Synopsis

Loosely based on the plight of Philippine Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, 10,000 hours tells the story of a senator who was forced to go on the run when his plan to reveal the names of corrupt government officials – which includes the President – were intercepted and his allies assassinated.

Why You Should Watch It

  • Ping Lacson’s story is already movie-worthy (he in fact has a movie made about his earlier years as chief of the Philippine National Police), but the film goes one step further as it provides a more action-oriented take on his most recent plight, which indeed implicated high government officials.
  • Robin Padilla got his start as an action star, but he has since developed a wide range of acting skills that include comedy and drama. 10,000 hours allows him to showcase both his dramatic acting skills and to return to his roots as an action star.

#7 - Gangland

Synopsis

Gangland focuses on the lives of the teenage gangs that roam the streets of Manila, from their early lives (many of them came from middle class families), to their criminal activities, and even to the day they meet their end.

Why You Need to Watch It

  • Gangland was released a full year before The Blair Witch Project made found footage films a genre on its own, but there were already handcam segments in the film, courtesy of some of the main characters holding videocams and choosing to film their exploits.
  • Realistic fight scenes. There’s none of the canned punch sounds that have become a staple of action films. The sounds of punches in Gangland are authentic – like pounds of meat hitting the ground. The brutal fight scenes prevent the activities from being glorified or sensationalized, as it is shown the way it truly is: uncomfortable and savage.

#8 - Kinatay

Synopsis

Kinatay is about a young criminology student who finds himself forced to join a crime syndicate in order to earn money for his family.

Why You Need to Watch It

  • Despite being a low budget film, the cinematography is excellent. Majority of the film is set at night, but the use of differently-hued lighting prevents visibility from being affected. You can still see everything and understand what is happening.
  • There are scenes with gore and violence, but they’re necessary to the story and the camera doesn’t linger if the story doesn’t ask for it.

#9 - Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles

Synopsis

Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles is about a family, their future son-in law and a family friend, who are all trapped in their home as they are laid siege by an entire clan of Aswangs (flesh-eating and shapechanging monsters from Philippine folklore.)

Why You Should Watch It

  • It’s got everything you need in a popcorn flick: a thin but enjoyable plot, martial arts, gunfights, scary monsters, a heavy dose of humor that isn’t out of place, and eye candy for both men and women, courtesy of the two lead actors.
  • The film uses CG effects to great effect. It doesn’t aim for realism, instead going for a stylish comic-book feel similar to 300.

#10 - Metro Manila

Synopsis

Metro Manila follows family man Oscar Ramirez, who takes his family to Metro Manila in order to escape poverty but ends up falling victim to city con-men. He soon lands a job in an armored truck company, but his senior officer recruits him into a far more lucrative yet illegal opportunity.

Why You Should Watch It

  • The visuals in the film are top notch – from the lush greeneries in the province to the dizzying grays of Metro Manila’s urban landscape.
  • There’s twists and turns galore, and some really tense moments during the film’s final action scenes.

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)