Mang Kepweng: Ang Lihim ng Bandanang Itim (MMFF 2020): Movie Review

If you want your holiday to be a jolly event, you can do a lot worse than watch Star Cinema’s entry to this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival, Mang Kepweng: Ang Lihim ng Bandanang Itim (Mang Kepweng and the Secret of the Black Scarf). It made very little sense but you will be guaranteed a lot of laughs.

Synopsis: When faith healer Mang Kepweng (Vhong Navarro) becomes a celebrity of sorts after the events of the first movie, his character changes, causing his magical scarf to lose some of its power. In order to atone for his wrongdoings, he accepts Encadia’s plea for help in defeating Maximus Tolonges, a villain who steals a magical black scarf from the kingdom to destroy the land of the fairies and the realm of the humans.

Mang Kepweng spent the better part of two hours delivering segment after segment of gags, jokes and toilet humor without worrying about character development or even delivering a sensible story. It was made for the sole purpose of eliciting cheap laughs and it managed to accomplish its mission with flying colors.

Compared to previous Star Cinema entries, Mang Kepweng obviously had a lower budget, judging by the set and costumes as well as the very limited number of cast members (except for the battle scene). Perhaps, it was owing to additional challenges of filming during a pandemic, or maybe the studio did not want to spend too much on a movie that won’t be shown on theaters. Given that the film was not overly reliant on CGI, it all worked out somewhat.

The humor was quite juvenile. Slapstick, parody, toilet humor and physical humor were what kept this film afloat and they were used quite well by director Topel Lee. Vhong easily embodied the character and injected it with some elements from the original movie. Ryan Bang also pulled off his fair share of comedy and ad libs. He’s becoming a better comedian with every project.

Even though the newbies were still a bit stiff, their presence was carried along by the regular filmfest stars. Joross Gamboa found himself filling the shoes of a villain this time but his portrayal was more comical than nefarious. Its just as well because he too, seemed like he was having trouble keeping his laughter in check.

By the film’s end, you will just learn to enjoy everything and take everything as a big joke. Its what the film intended after all and there’s nothing wrong about being truthful to the goal.

All in all, Mang Kepweng is the movie to watch if you want to turn off your brain for an entire two hours. You will laugh at many asinine jokes and feel like you’re watching the cast of Its Showtime in costume. It makes no pretenses about what it hopes to accomplish which is to make people laugh themselves silly. After a year like 2020, it may just be the break we need.