Posted April 13, 2014 by Yuri Mangahas in Movies/TV

CINESB Movie Review: ‘THE BLACK ROOK’ – An Indie Flick That Can Stand Out!

Let’s travel down memory lane, shall we? Six years ago, me and a couple of friends watched Kick-Ass for the first time. It was a wonderful moment, granted how good the movie was. We laughed at the good moments, gripped our seats at the gory scenes, and felt our chest pump out at the action sequences. Next thing we knew, our mouths were left hanging in sheer agape. Fast forward to 2014, I’ve had that feeling once again, this time, with the local indie film, The Black Rook.

Directed by Patrick Alcantara, The Black Rook is a demonstration of how elements from real life can work out with a tale fitted for comic books, creating a product of total finesse without losing grasp of reality.

The movie is set in an alternate timeline where Manila is similar to RoboCop’s Detroit City – crime ridden, poverty-filled, and corrupt to the core. Unknown to many, a few solons of the goverment have actuated a covert operation called rebreeding. It goes like this: a team of hired men will be tasked to kill notable personalities  in society. They will be then abducting their children in order to condition them and serve as their parents’ obedient replacements in the next generation. One of these hired killers is Arkin(played by Epy Quizon), a chess enthusiast. After undertaking a few missions, he began to grow weary of his profession and decides to move on as a teacher. However, a string of events will remind him of his dreadful past, galvanizing him to take up arms once more in order to correct his actions and save the city from destroying itself.

Unlike previous indies, The Black Rook is a unique take on corruption, political killings and poverty, with comic book-esque elements woven into it. In fact, it was a story fit to be rendered into panels. Another thing that makes it stand out is the way the plot was handled, despite the heavy societal undertone. It is also a neat ensemble movie. Despite the large cast, each gets a spotlight of his/her own.

My only problem with this flick lies in the pacing. There were times where the transition feels too fast, and that some vital scenes were removed, resulting in some confusing segments. However, this does not really impede at all as the movie remains a solid experience despite the flaws mentioned.

In conclusion, The Black Rook is a great ride from start to finish. Definitely a must watch for any indie movie fan. If any comic book writer’s reading this review now, please, I’m begging you, try to consider translating this flick into comic book form.


Special thanks to Cinesb for allowing us to catch all the entries of their film festival’s The Chair category.

Yuri Mangahas

Yuri is magnanimously juggling between two managerial jobs: A technical manager position for an advertising/copy-writing company, and an associate editorial position for a fashion and lifestyle magazine. Nevertheless, he still finds time taking photos and seeking for geek nirvana.