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Cinema China: 10 Pinoy Movies with Chinese Themes
Popular Pinoy films that showcase Chinese culture—some well done, others just plain bad.
Published on: Jan 23, 2012 - 6:00am

Sharon Cuneta, Vilma Santos, Richard Gutierrez—who else went Chinese for a role?


( There's no denying Chinese culture has affected our own culture in one way or another,with indelible traces on Pinoy food, habits, language, and even our attitudes. In fact, it's influenced us so much that several films have been made to commemorate, or at least, acknowlege the presence of Chinese traditions in our own local lifestyles.

For the year of the Dragon, we're taking a second look at several films that either have some Chinese elements in them. Some are nicely crafted, others are just (admittedly) plain bad. Still, these movies got made and they do have their fans.

Happy Chinese New Year everyone!




Magic Temple (1996)
Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes
Starring: Jason Salcedo, Mark Solis, Gina Pareńo, and a not-yet-so-buff Jackie Lou Blanco
Premise: Three children with magical powers are tasked to restore the balance in their magical world, Samadhi, from the threatening Ravenal.

The Chinese influences in this 1996 award-winning film are fleeting but blunt. It is most evident in Sifu (Jun Urbano), an elderly man who mentors the three in discipline and martial arts. The word “sifu” is derived from the Chinese term shi fu (師父) which means “master.” He has six dots on his head similar to those worn by Mahayana Buddhist monks although his marks bravery and merit while monks carry them as a sign of commitment.

Moreover, Sifu can transform into a Shaolin warrior-child (played by Sydney Salicdan) complete with a shaved head and costume.


Otso-Otso Pamela-Mela Wan (2004)
Jerry Lopez Sineneng
Starring: Vhong Navarro and Bayani Agbayani
Premise: It's all about two "mixed-up" sets of "twins" (each pair is made up of Navarro and Agbayani) and their shenanigans.

With each of them playing dual roles (as Pinoy twins and Chinese twins), comedians Vhong Navarro and Bayani Agbayani are (obviously) not quite believable when they're made to look Chinese. They also speak in exagerrated Chinese accents and use just about every stereotype about the Chinese as punchlines.

For all its craziness, the movie's abundance of twins reminds us of the 1988 film, Big Business, which stared Bette "Wind Beneath My Wings" Midler and Lily Tomlin.


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  • Jesuswasablackman
    @Genuine: to be precise, gay-oriented softcore. What does that leave us red-blooded hetero males?
    Jan 24 2012 @ 10:15am     Reply  
  • James Ty III
    Crying Ladies used South Border's hit song Rainbow as its theme song.
    Jan 23 2012 @ 04:02pm     Reply  
  • Genuine
    The only films worth a bother on the list are CRYING LADIES, BABY TSINA, and grudgingly, MAGIC TEMPLE. We need more risque films, Chinese influenced or not, but mainstream producers would rather go formulaic on their patrons because the main concern is cash money at the tills, no matter if the patrons dumb down after watching what they had to offer while many of the so-called indies bunk up with their specialty, softcore.
    Jan 23 2012 @ 11:25am     Reply  
  • Jesuswasablackman
    @kororo: I think she worked on the live-action film...saw it years ago on WOWOW when it was then airing locally
    Jan 23 2012 @ 10:56am     Reply  
  • kororo
    I love Cutie Honey!!! Ito ba yung live action film? Kasi di ba nagkaron din ng live action series? Naalala ko na naman. Hindi na binalik nung humiram sa akin yung dvd ko. Si Yukari Oshima aka Cynthia Luster din pala yung gumanap na Farrah Cat sa Choudenshi Bioman. Astig!
    Jan 23 2012 @ 10:16am     Reply  
  • Jesuswasablackman
    What? Not one of Chiquito's Mr. Wong comedies in this list?

    Btw, Yukari "Cynthia Luster" Oshima from Once Upon A Time In Manila also choreographed the fight sequences for the live-action version of Cutie Honey directed by Hideaki Anno and co-produced by infamous Japanese anime studio Gainax
    Jan 23 2012 @ 09:04am     Reply  
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