‘3Pol Trobol: Huli Ka Balbon’ review: Toxic cinema

Oggs Cruz
‘3Pol Trobol: Huli Ka Balbon’ review: Toxic cinema
'3Pol Trobol' peddles the most obsolete of ideals

Beware of Coco Martin’s 3Pol Trobol: Huli Ka Balbon

It seems harmless. After all, with its reimagining of Martin as another selfless hero who is up against corrupt and powerful men, it’s really just an overblown version of Martin’s never-ending television show Ang Probinsyano. It shouldn’t be too bad. If it has a glaring fault, it should just be the fact that it is a blatant cash grab. It’s unscrupulous but this is the season of very unscrupulous filmmaking.

A very toxic film

However, 3Pol Trobol, as it turns out, is much worse. 

The very scant entertainment it offers cannot make up for its stubbornness. It’s hodgepodge of silly stunts and lazy comedy. Its plot borrows a lot from current events – which isn’t exactly a bad thing — but because it panders to politicians, it exposes quite a distasteful slant, a preference to appease the administration, using its reach to telegraph seemingly innocent but truly noxious ideas.

So how can a movie with Martin pretending to be a woman be so crooked?

Well, because it uses for comedy distasteful scenes involving Martin exploiting the opportunity to see another woman change her clothes or stealing a kiss. It utilizes as an act of valor the seduction and baiting of a man, sending wrong signals in the discourse of sexual abuse. Jennylyn Mercado, who plays the token damsel in distress, also cross-dresses in the movie, but that episode ends in another expression of outdated chivalry, with the woman having no role but to be helpless, screaming, and pleading for a man’s protection.

PALOMA. Coco also brings back another famous character he did in 'Ang Probinsyano' in the movie – Paloma.

Obsolete ideals

3Pol Trobol peddles the most obsolete of ideals.

The least Martin could have done is to exert a bit more effort and creativity in crafting his obnoxiously clueless flick. Sadly, everything feels shoddy and makeshift. The film looks horrendous with its unfocused visuals, its haphazard editing and its absolute lack of any real design. It feels like it was made in a hurry, in between shoots of Martin’s daily television show.

Then there is the wastage of talent. 

3Pol Trobol is probably the biggest assembly of fine actors in lousy roles. While it is good that the film has generated jobs for those actors, it could also have pushed the envelope further by making those jobs relevant to their skills and experience. As it is, their roles feel like dole-outs, with Martin appearing to be a generous overlord whose stature as a movie star is only improved by having veterans serving as extras in his vanity project.

NEW LEADING LADY. Jennylyn Mercado works with Coco Martin for the first time.

Headache-inducing nightmare

3Pol Trobol is bad. It is a headache-inducing nightmare. – Rappler.com


Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas’ Tirad Pass.

Since then, he’s been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema.

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