Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pinoy Film Focus: Kakabakaba Ka Ba? (1980)

(Does Your Heart Beat Faster?)

Director: Mike de Leon

Writers: Clodualdo del Mundo, Jr., Raquel Villavicencio, Mike de Leon

Cast: Christopher de Leon, Charo Santos, Jay Ilagan, Sandy Andolong, Boboy Garovillo, Johnny Delgado, Armida Siguion-Reyna, Leo Martinez

Some films are so outrageously over the top that they leave an indelible mark on their audience. And then some of those are made with such style and wit that they become true cinematic gems despite their excesses...or maybe exactly because of them. Kakabakaba Ka Ba?, that Mike de Leon musical with the almost untranslatable title, is easily one of the latter.

As he arrives home from Japan, Johnny (Christopher de Leon) unknowingly smuggles in high-grade opium via an unassuming audio cassette. Japanese gangsters go after him and his friends to take back their goods. Johnny's group takes refuge in a church in Baguio, but there they discover that the priests and nuns there are fakes and actually in league with the Japanese. Adding to the mayhem is the Chinese mafia, which have agenda of their own that pits them against the Japanese. Appropriately, hijinks ensue in a battle cum musical extravaganza.

To say more about the plot is to ruin the experience; you'd have to see it to believe it. A word that captures the essence of this film is "absurd." That is no damning or faint praise, as the film revels in outdoing itself in its own exuberance. It has enough intelligence and complexity to put more "serious" films to shame. With an amazing cast and a rip-roaring soundtrack, Kakaba-Kaba Ka Ba? is truly a cinematic experience that one cannot soon forget. Nor would one want to.

Image source: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_nxUb2kYKSvI/R-3pEfgQXPI/AAAAAAAAFGs/JrpdTI8YM68/s1600-h/Kakaba-kaba-kaka-+80-+Mike+de+Leon-2-+small+file.jpg

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