By Nikki Quiambao
We’re so used to action movie plots being short and sweet. And that’s exactly what the original Ang Probinsyano gave us. It's basically what the modern TV version's plot is. In it Fernando Poe Jr., one of the best action stars Filipino Cinema has ever seen, played the iconic dual role of Ador, the loyal soldier, and Cardo de Leon, the chivalrous knight, who were twins separated in birth.
Whereas Ador died into the first few minutes of the film, Cardo—ever the chivalrous brother—pretended to be his twin to catch the syndicate drug dealers who have wronged him. In came the numerous fight scenes that we all now know about. An uppercut here, a right jab there—even shooting guns whilst upside down! “Da King” had done it all.
The movie version ended with Cardo finding the headquarters of these drug dealers and returning to the province with Carmen, Ador’s widow, and their daughter Menchie. Still, it left audiences with unanswered questions—many of which would still be unanswered had Rondel P. Lindayag’s Ang Probinsyano not aired in 2015.
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Starring Coco Martin, the current primetime topnotcher expands the storyline of Cardo and highlights his adventures. It also sheds light on circumstances leading to the twins’ separation. In the series, Cardo holds a grudge against his grandmother because she left him in the province and took his brother with him to the city. This alone surely pulled viewers’ heartstrings as many Filipinos grow up with their grandparents.
Of course, we witnessed some action-packed fight and chase scenes in the remake. But these weren’t as clean or choreographed as those in the movie. As Cardo, FPJ appeared so great in combat that not a single bullet grazed his corduroy jacket. In the teleserye, however, Coco’s face is smeared with blood whenever a fight ensues. The former indie actor's portrayal humanizes Cardo; like us, he gets hurt and feels pain from time to time. Moreover, the bad guys in the movie were practically non-human. Bullets were received by their bodies yet not one drop of blood was shown. This was done perhaps so they wouldn’t be sympathized with. Any value they had would be equivalent to mere tin can soldiers executing their drug lord’s dirty plan.
Overall, Lindayag takes Ang Probinsyano to new heights by using the movie’s storyline as its backdrop while adding more depth and complexity into the stories of its characters—most especially Cardo. And unlike the original, nothing is always black and white.
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Photographs from ABS-CBN Entertainment and FPJ Productions