By NEIL RAMOS
AIMING to put Pinoy action movies back into the forefront of mainstream cinema is Vincent Soberano.
The former Muay Thai World Champion has been at it for some time now, producing and directing several films of the ilk including “Blood Hunters” and “Tapado.”
He is now back with his latest opus, “The Trigonal.”
According to Soberano, “The Trigonal” is an epic Pinoy action film of global merit, noting its meticulously-choreographed action sequences and topnotch production detail.
“But of course, at the very heart of it is a journey in humanity,” he said.
Apparently, unlike most his predecessors who seemingly only want to focus on blood and gore, Soberano is keen on good, heartfelt storytelling.
“Fight porn is what I call films filled with fighting just for the sake of fighting. I don’t like that. There has to be a story behind every action, every kick, every punch,” he explained.
“The Trigonal” is about Jacob Casa, a martial arts champion who returns to his hometown to open an MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) school with his childhood friend. He is obsessed about the fight game, finding it hard to turn down any chance to engage in professional competition.
When Jacob considers taking on an underground fight, his wife Annie, and their unborn child become collateral in a ruthless drug lord’s lunatic ambitions.
Note “The Trigonal” has caught the attention of Real Pictures Entertainment, a Chinese production company.
Following the film’s limited premiere in Beijing last March 14, “The Trigonal” is poised to be shown throughout China.
“Several Hollywood and Chinese film industry executives were impressed at how the film looked ‘so expensive’ and ‘international’ going beyond the seemingly stigmatized expectations from a Filipino film,” said Soberano.
“They loved the diverse and unique action choreography and cinematography. They especially loved how the Chinese characters in the story are pivotal to the success of the main character and his journey.”
The film is also slated to premiere at the Cannes Marche du Film on May 12.
It will be released locally by Viva Films on July 18 and talks are underway for a US release in August.
For the lead roles of Jacob and Annie, Soberano handpicked theater-trained actor Ian Ignacio and actress Rhian Ramos.
“I wanted an actor who looked entirely Filipino, not mestizo or half-breed, to play Jacob. He should also be as great an actor as he is wa martial artist,” explained Soberano of his decision to cast Ignacio, a protégé of Taekwondo legend Monsour del Rosario and the son of Karate master Levi Ignacio.
As for Ramos, he said, “Rhian perfectly fit the role of Annie because of her mixed heritage, her fluency of the English language, and athleticism. Beyond that, I was also quite impressed with her acting skills.”
Making the cast even more formidable is the inclusion of several well-known Chinese stars like Li Jing Liang, Gus Liem and Sarah Chang.
Why Trigonal?w“The movie abounds with symbolism. The Trigonal refers to an underground fighting arena shaped like a triangle. It also represents the film’s three principal characters and three subplots. The triangle in itself is a symbol of mixed martial arts,” Soberano explained.