Posts tagged "Philippines"

Revenge of Lady Fighter (Review)

Revenge of Lady Fighter

aka Buhawi

1973
Directed by Junar – aka Jun Aristorenas
Written by Greg B. Macabenta

“Only a hurricane can freeze the fury of her fist!”

Revenge of Lady Fighter is really well done once the fight sequences get going. In fact, the fight scenes and quality are so good the film actually made me angry. Not at the film, but because the team behind Revenge of Lady Fighter was also the team behind Batwoman and Robin and Batwoman and Robin Meet the Queen of the Vampires, two films considered holy grail lost films of Filipino cinema (though Tony Cayado directed Meet the Queen of the Vampires). Before watching Lady Fighter, I assumed these would be dumb comedies with little to no action sequences, along the lines of Alyas Batman en Robin. Instead, now I am picturing them as a fun-filled action romps, making the fact I will probably never see them stinging even more.

Director Jun Aristorenas was born Juanito Aristorenas in 1933 in the Philippines. By the late 1950s he was a regular on the Filipino vaudeville circuit (known as Bodabil), which lead to a few walk-on roles in films. By 1965, he was a headliner, starring in flicks such as Dugong Tigre. In 1967, he started his own production company – Junar Productions – Junar being his nickname and the name he is credited as director of this flick.

Jun Aristorenas was nominated as best actor for his performance in Elias, Basilio at Sisa (1972) by the Film Academy of Movie Arts & Sciences (FAMAS). His 1970 film Dimasalang scored him the Rajah Soliman award for Best Director at the 1970 Manila Film Festival. He became a regular in western films such as Johnny West (1966) and Dimasalang, but also starred in other action genres such as war or even samurai films like Samurai Master (1969) and The Samurai Fighters (1969). Cult movie fans might recognize him from She Devils in Chains (1976) Jun Aristorenas continued to act in films up to his death in 2000, his last appearance being 2000’s Pag Oras Mo, Oras Mo Na.

Aristorenas married female action star Virginia (aka Virginia Gaerlan then Virginia Aristorenas) who then starred in several of his films. By the 1970s, Virginia had assumed the mantle of the Action Queen of Filipino Cinema, the successor of 1950’s action queen Celia Fuentes. Virginia debuted in 1971’s Ang Mababangis and started out doing dangerous stunts from the start. She appeared in films such as Bandolera (1972), Apat na Bagwis (1972) – “Three men and a woman, undercover agents, blast the hell out of Devil’s Island”, Kumander Erlinda (1972), and The Panther (1973). Two of their sons, Robin and Junar, also appeared in some of the films. In fact, Robin Aristorenas played Robin in Batwoman and Robin and Batwoman and Robin Meet the Queen of the Vampires along with a long career as a child actor. Virginia has passed on, but I have been unable to find out when and why.

Lady Fighter suffers from being a film of the 1970s and thus has some of the flaws of the era, including long drawn out scenes that would be cut much tighter now. Is someone walking up to a village? Well, we’re gonna see every single step he takes. Yay!!! Uh…

Rosa (Virginia aka Virginia Aristorenas) – Rosa is quested by Ming to retrieve the medallions he gave the townspeople who are now using his martial arts knowledge for evil instead of good. She has to learn kung fu all by herself and then beat up everyone since the few cops are all useless.
Ming (Ernie Ortega) – Ming is a local kung fu master who is a legend, which we know because we’re told so. He teaches the town kung fu on the condition they will use it honorably, but once the genie is out of the bottle the townspeople smash that bottle over the heads of the villains and kill them all. Ming is ticked off, but even more ticked off when he is killed.
Nardo (Rolando Gonzalez) – The local bad guy of the town, who becomes the big bad guy once he gets the taste of karate power. Rolando Gonzalez was the Karate King of Philippine Movies. The son of Latino Gonzalez, known as the Father of Philippine Karate. Gonzalez starred in a string of action films in the 60s and 70s, but near the end of his life was broke and begging his old acting buddies for money. He died in 2009.
Lewel (Fred Galang) – Lewel is the only non-comic relief guy in town who isn’t a murderous drunk. Depending on who dubbed what part, the guy’s name is either Lewel or Noel. Fred Galang was a much lauded actor in the 1960s and 70s. A biography of Fred Galang I found that looks auto-translated mentioned that at one point he joined “occult, ESP mind power and drugs”. Eventually he became a born again minister.
Curian (Palito) – Curian might be named Rulen, depending on whoever wrote up the dubbing script that week. We’re going with Curian because that is the one used more. He’s one of the comic relief guys and helps Rosa train for her mission. Palito translates to stick, and he was a hard-working comedian who was making films until 2007, enduring the ups and downs of the Pinoy film industry. Notable films include Darna at Ding, BoboCop, James Bone, and Sheman: Mistress of the Universe. He died in 2010.
Other Comic Relief (Teroy de Guzman) – The other comic relief guy doesn’t even get a name! He manages to get a medallion and joins the bad guys as they go off to form a gang due to being forced to go with them. At the end, Other Comic Relief helps rescue his buddy Curian. A Bodabil alumni, Teroy was a member of the famous singing and dancing group Crazy Corporation with Panchito, Ading Fernando and Bayani Casismiro. He was also part of the dancing trio The 3 Hot Shots with fellow comedians Dolphy and Rene Pangan in the 1950s. He continued to work through the early 1980s in TV and the best estimates for his death is sometime in the 1990s.


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3 comments - What do you think?
Posted by Tars Tarkas - December 5, 2010 at 12:19 am

Categories: Bad, Movie Reviews   Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

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