ONION-SKINNED we are as any bank’s armored vehicle, a segment of unreeling news events for a month or so has nudged our noggin to coyly rework within a local context and setting a 1970s kung-fu flick, Rikishi kuri. Doesn’t anybody remember one Dexter Won who was hitched as rickshaw boy in that no-brainer movie?
Viewers won’t mind an outright rip-off so let’s plunk down the same frayed plot in Tala, a convenient cross between agrestic idylls of Bulacan and the noisome concrete jungle of Caloocan City’s southern spread.
Begin with a blast in broad daylight-- a ragtag crew of cops moonlighting as holduppers pump buckets of ammo on a hapless purified water peddler who reportedly also works for RPN Channel 9 as camera man.
Fully perforated victim bleeds to death as the culprits cart away his day’s earnings.
Dump the rickshaw in Rikishi kuri, use a local vehicle relevant to our version of coolie labor. Yeah, a tricycle! Any convenient stand-in for Dexter Won witnesses the crime, recognizes the villains—well, two of them, SPO2 Inchtarugo and SPO10 Dimacatayo.
Protagonist a la Dexter Won becomes a reluctant star witness, under duress sings about ‘em jolly good felons, for they’re jolly good felons, for they’re jolly good felons… which nobody can deny.
After such awful singing, the villains move in. They make life a living hell for the poor triker. Say, during a neighborhood wake for star witness’ dead dad, the criminals’ cohorts hurl three grenades at the gathering. In that attack, two grenades explode leaving two more people dead, 21 wounded.
Pushed against the wall, the dead-scared character played by Dexter Won becomes too scarred to give a damn. He toughens up and toughs it out. He learns both the rudiments and advanced techniques in urban guerrilla warfare. He plunges into a crash course in stalking and surveillance operations. Plus marksmanship and close quarters battle. He turns into a cold-blooded assassin to turn the tables on his tormentors.
In due time Dexter Won nails ‘em baddies one at a time, kicking their teeth in, knifing their innards to ribbons, blowing their brains out, even defecating their dead carcasses and desecrating on their graves.
Such warped description isn’t exactly an awful prescription.
Such sickening plot unreeled in a movie called Rikishi kuri. Who can tell if art can’t imitate life?