“The Film Biker,” Mel Chionglo’s new melodrama, concerns a young handsome guy who transports reels of film from one movie house to another. Still best known for the guilty pleasure “Midnight Dancers,” Chionglo makes crowd-pleasing mellers for Philippine audiences, but there’s not much of a following for his work in the U.S. other than in festivals and specialized venues.
Far from considering his work routine or menial, Gregory (Piolo Pascual) feels he has a calling, in part inspired by his blind grandfather, who is still obsessed with the magic and stars of old movies. Chionglo draws a parallel between Gregory’s professional and personal life, both defined by charming naivete, gallant chivalry and schmaltzy melodramatics. A firm believer in true love, protag meets a bar “hostess” (beautiful Vanna Victoria) and immediately assigns himself the role of her savior/redeemer. On another level, helmer offers an elegiac view of Manila’s movie palaces of yesteryear, being replaced by multiplexes that don’t arouse the same passion for film. Well-shot picture, which is only one notch above a soap opera, is enjoyable but utterly predictable.