JUST A THOUGHT: Do not pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult one. – Bruce Lee
• • •
AKSYON AGAD: The image of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla taking to the podium, mincing no words as he blasted at PNoy and Mar Roxas in a rare privilege speech Jan. 20 in the halls of the Senate calls to mind the kind of “aksyon agad” solution he and other action stars offer in movies.
Action stars, as they are called only in Philippine movies, are looked up to for their heroic stance and quick response to damsels (and even entire towns and barrios) in distress. Aside from Sen. Bong, who has elevated his film stardom to stardom in the political arena, other action stars have remained visible on the entertainment scene.
While they may no longer play the same heroic roles they used to play on the big screen, they have found a second career through teleseryes, where they have now channeled their energies. The marked slump in production of action pictures has impacted immensely on the careers of actors who at a point in their life specialized in gung-ho, bang-bang movies.
• • •
UPDATE ON ACTION STARS: Here’s an update on some of the biggest action stars dating back from the ’70s onwards: Phillip Salvador, Bong Revilla’s best friend, came early to the Senate premises to support the beleaguered senator. When not playing father roles on TV soaps, Phillip is also a pastor.
Lito Lapid, one of the biggest action stars in the ’80s, has, like Revilla, channeled his stardom to politics. He graduated from being governor to senator.
Cesar Montano is lucky to still land leading man roles on soaps, such as the one he recently played on GMA’s “Akin Pa Rin Ang Bukas.”
Robin Padilla remains a top draw in the endorsement industry and is never wanting in TV offers. Robin also acts in teleseryes, which used to be a no-no to actors of his stature.
Cesar and Robin have managed to take care of their bodies well, so that they hardly look their age, in or around 50. The same is true with a much younger Raymond Bagatsing, whose comeback has been eventful.
• • •
FATHER ROLES ARE BEST: The likes of Jestoni Alarcon, Gardo Versoza, Ian Veneracion, Roi Vinzon, Daniel Fernando, have managed to stay afloat through intermittent roles in teleseryes, where they play character roles. Luck was on Roi’s side when he accepted the part of a homophobic dad in “My Husband’s Lover,” a huge hit which increased his visibility everywhere.
Ronnie Ricketts produces, directs, and acts every now and then, but his hands are tied as chair of the Optical Media Board. Jess Lapid Jr. tackles roles of goons these days, but on better days, he’s a stunt director and diving instructor. Chuck Perez, the muscular star of “Bagwis,” is based in Colorado, USA. Jeric Raval has not been heard from. Ejercito cousins, Jinggoy and ER (Jorge Estregan) have, like Bong Revilla, transformed into political stars as senator and governor (Laguna), respectively. Between the two, Jorge has become more active in producing and acting in films, taking part in the MMFF three years in a row, since 2011. His vehicle: “Walang kamatayang” action pictures.
• • •
MISSING THEM: Missed are the likes of Rudy Fernandez and Ace Vergel, who have retired in heaven. If Fernando Poe Jr. were still around, you think we’d have a chance to watch him on a nightly series? I would like to think so, knowing how adventurous and experimental The King had been in his choice of projects. FPJ was known to swim with the tide and was usually the first to spot a good trend.
• • •
STAR MAGIC GOT THEM ALL: No doubt about it, Star Magic has most of the brightest stars in the entertainment industry today. A run-through of the premier talent management agency’s roster of artists points out this matter of fact. Not only do these leading artists land major roles in film and TV projects, they also close the juiciest, most tender endorsement contracts. How is that possible? Ask Johnny Manahan, the helmsman-magician behind the Star Magic artists. Somewhere in this space, you’ll know who these lead stars are and why they’re on top of the youthful heap.