Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Day They Robbed America (1985)

1985 - The Day They Robbed America (Vanguard Films/Davian International Ltd/Sunny Films)

[Philippines release date 14th November 1985; original Philippines title "The Sangley Point Robbery"]

Director Manuel 'Fyke' Cinco Story Roger Saulog Screenplay Jose N. Carreon Producer Charo Santos-Concio Executive Producer Simon C. Ongpin Associate Producer [Atty.] Rizal Guerrero Cinematography Ely Cruz Music Jaime Fabregas Musical Arranger Nonong Buencamino Supervising Editor Augusto Salvador Production Design Ricky Brioso Associate Director Jojo M. Lapus Sound Supervision Gaudencio Barredo, Rudy Baldovino Production Manager Hernan Robles Stunt Coordinator Baldo Marro Special Effects Mariano Garcia Technical Consultant David Anderson Art Director Randy Gamier Associate Art Director Bert Habal Set Man Jose “Pipoy” Reyes Jr Propsman Blandino Habal Wardrobe Master Rome Gonzales Wardrobe Assistants Dannie Lopez, Gener Brioso Makeup Artist Amparo Carolina Assistant Cameraman Culie Suriao Gaffers Edgardo Cruz, Leni Beltran Second Unit Cameramen Edmund Cupcupin, Pablo Bautista Field Soundman Willy Antonio Film Editor Toto Natividad Dubbing Editors Ben Salvador, Eddie Hucom Assistant Editor Danny Gloria Sound Effects Editor Danny Sanchez Production Assistant Kess Burias Field Accountant Beth Ajardo Schedule Master/Post-Production Coordinator Boy Dionisio Utility Edgar Almazan, Jun Villarama Service Drivers Adrian Abelino, Jo Vitacion Stills Nilo Odiaman Titles/Opticals Manoling Buencamino, Bonnie Austria

Cast Rudy Fernandez (Ruben Martirez), Rio Locsin (Rose), Donna Villa (Carol), Robert Arevalo (Martin), George Estregan (Putol), Edu Manzano (Bobby), “Deborrah”/Deborah Sun (Marissa), Arnold Mendoza (Eddie), Bomber Moran (Ambo), Jimmy Santos (Zosing), Ernie Forte (Elyong), Abbo dela Cruz (Doming), Roger Saulog (Dodong), Ruben Rustia (Mang Terio), Jose Romulo (Hepe), Johnny Vicar (Tenyente), James Acheson (Duke Carson), Rodolfo 'Boy' Garcia (Dolfo), Robert Talabis (Junior), Dick Israel (Bungo), Dave Brodette (Cardo), David Anderson (Marine Captain), Willy Williams (Ensign Smith), Tony Tacorda (Kabo), Alma Lerma (Ruben’s Mother), Rose Ann Gonzales (Ruben’s Daughter), Boy Soriano Jr (Ruben’s Son), David Light (Carson’s Friend), Bill James (Base Commander) Martin’s Men Fred Moro, Nonoy de Guzman, Ben Datu, Ding Mendoza, Big Boy Gomez, Roger Moring, Ding Sibal Bobby’s Men Belo Borja, Joey Padilla Cardo’s Men Boy Padilla, Pilo Puruganan Holduppers Tikboy Fernandez, Pempe Padilla III, Raul Armea Hostage Adora Avila Informer Jojo Lapus Investigators Nigel Hogge, Nick Nicholson US Servicemen Philip Gordon, David Doe, Ramon Jimenez, Henry Baynes, George Maxwell Policemen Vic Belaro, Edgar Santiago, Pol Lopez, Boy Salvador, Buddy de Leon, Jolly Jugueta, Nemie Gutierrez, Ver Sagum, Manny Montalbo, Gil Mandong, Paquito Marcate Gate Guards Arthur Nieto, Rafael Nunez, Mamo Burgos Banktellers Randy Gamier, Melinda Villa del Rey

Review from the Critcon Online website:

Outlandish Philippines-lensed production that's pretty hard to categorize. It's part war film, part heist film and 100% off-the-wall. The film opens up with soldier Duke Carson (James Acheson) watching VC soldiers shoot his nurse girlfriend when he refuses to answer their questions (He screams out a long "Nooooooo!"). The film then switches to a hostage situation at a restaurant where cop Robbie (Rudy Fernandez) shoots and kills hostage taker Junior. Junior's father Martin (Robert Arevalo), a local crime lord, retaliates and sends his men to kill Robbie, but they mistakenly shoot and seriously injure his father instead. Robbie quits the force and decides to go after Martin on his own. Meanwhile, Duke is reassigned to an American military base as an MP, close to where Robbie lives. Robbie's friends plan to rob the Bank of American Express on the military base and they want Robbie to join them, but he declines. Duke gets into a fight with local gunrunners at a bar where Robbie is having a drink. Robbie notices Duke's fighting abilities and compliments him on them. When Robbie learns his father is going to need an expensive operation, he has no choice but to join in on the bank robbery, but he brings in friends Boiler (a marksman) and Sausage (the brawny muscle) for extra insurance. Martin has his men burn down Robbie's house, nearly killing his wife and kids. Robbie grabs a machine gun and systematically begins gunning down Martin's men, nearly missing the robbery start time. They finally perform the robbery, sneaking into the military base disquising themselves as sandwich men. As they are robbing the bank, they are caught off-guard by Duke and the MPs, which leads to a shootout (Boiler, the marksman, is the first to die) and a hostage situation. Duke's new girlfriend Carol (Donna Villa), a bank teller, is taken hostage by Ronnie, which leads to a short car chase and another shootout. Duke rescues Carol as Ronnie and his gang disappear into the jungle. Robbie buries the money and disappears, as Duke goes commando and begins killing all the robbers one-by-one. The finale finds Duke and Robbie shooting it out and neither one comes out unscathed.

More plot-heavy than most Filippino action films, this flick (set in 1971) still has it's share of violent action setpieces, once the robbery starts. Until then, we are treated to Duke's numerous flashbacks to his dead girlfriend (he usually has them while trying to romance his new girlfriend!), various subplots involving gun runners trying to kill Duke and Martin trying to kill Robbie (who is credited as "Ruben" in the final credits). The funniest scene happens when Robbie's father is shot. Robbie stops a Jeep containing three American soldiers and asks for help, but they refuse! There are plenty of shootouts (lots and lots of bullet squibs), outrageous dubbing ("If he talks now, we're all in the shit!") and very unflattering depictions of the American military complex. I also love how Robbie has a mistress and the film seems to imply that there's nothing wrong with it. Another funny (and shocking) scene comes near the finale as Robbie is trying to drive to safety with his mistress in the car. With the sound of sirens and the glare of flashing lights in the background, she says, "Robbie, someone is following us! Maybe it's the police!", just before she gets shot in the back and dies immediately! While lacking the sheer lunacy of FINAL SCORE (1986) or the non-stop gunplay of other Philippines-lensed action flicks, THE DAY THEY ROBBED AMERICA still contains enough head-scratching action to get my recommendation. Directed by Manuel 'fyke' Cinco (REVENGE FOR JUSTICE - 1985). Also starring Rio Locsin, Edu Manzano, Bomber Moran and appearances by such Filippino mainstays as George Estregan, Nigel Hogge, Nick Nicholson, Willy Williams and Rudolfo 'Boy' Garcia. Available on DVD from Eastwest DVD as a double feature disc, with the film FINAL ASSIGNMENT (1980).

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