Pedro Penduko 2023 movie review in Dubai

Estimated read time 2 min read

At the premiere of Pedro Penduko at Star Cinemas in Al Ghurair Centre, Dubai on December 25, 2023. EXPAT MEDIA

All good things take time, just like “Pedro Penduko: The Legend Begins,” which is now showing in UAE cinemas after it was first announced in 2019.

Expat Media was invited to the movie premiere on Christmas day at Star Cinemas in Al Ghurair Centre, and we can honestly say that this fantasy-adventure pleasantly surprised us. Philippine mythology and magic mix with modern in this reimagined version.

Director Jason Paul Laxamana has successfully injected a modern twist to the beloved classic created by National Artist for Literature Francisco Coching in 1954. In this version of Pedro Penduko, the Filipino folk hero finds himself working for a secret organization of gifted healers and sorcerers who make serious money healing or hexing people with their supernatural powers and magic. Who knew that albularyos or mananambals now work via online conference and that with a single online payment, a “Midnight agent” can be dispatched to your location right away?

“Astig (cool)!” as actor Matteo Guidicelli’s anti-hero Pedro Penduko would exclaim, adding that he has finally found where he belongs. Pedro had run away from home to rebel from his father, a poor village healer or witch doctor who wants to live a humble life of service. Penduko was adamant that it is not the life he wants. With the underground network, he is able to live a life of luxury funded by dozens of successful healing quests with his work partner, Liway (Kylie Verzosa). It all goes well for Penduko, until he finds out one ugly truth and all hell breaks loose.

The movie also stars Albert Martinez, John Arcillas, Candy Pangilinan, Andrea Del Rosasrio and Mark Anthony Fernandez.

If there’s one tiny thing we could find fault in this movie, it’s probably when Guidicelli delivers some lines with the slight lilt of a non-native speaker. Then there’s the guy with a foreign accent who plays a carnival game gang boss that makes us want to say “mekus mekus”.

If you like mythology, magic and folklore, we recommend watching this movie and let it take you to the realm of fantasy and adventure, the Filipino way. ICA/Expat Media

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