Bamboo Dogs (2018)

Bamboo Dogs is set in the ’90s, said to be based on actual events. Four criminals were arrested and brought to the precinct due to miscommunication between different police departments. They are police “assets” as said repeatedly by one of the cops. And so they had to be brought to the camp and to be released later, as ordered by a certain “chief.” The road trip begins: four guys and four cops inside an old L300. Might probably be best not to know which actual events this was based on — to keep one guessing, or keep one from having expectations. Not that we can’t expect Khavn to do something “twisted,” or make his own version of the “official” report that we got from the news. It does have the elements to be expected in a road movie — a Khavn road movie that is: a freak parade, song numbers, a cat caught and obliterated in the van’s wheel, jokes about sex, women, and jokes about the youngest gang member — because he’s 14 and still a virgin, still uncircumcised — “supot” just like Sylvester Stallone in one of those “bold” movies. Interactions both rowdy and earnest help flesh out these characters. They’re most probably “assets,” but some of them have families too waiting for them at home, just like the two officers tasked to transfer them to the HQ, Esquivel (Dido dela Paz) and Corazon (Sue Prado), who just happened to be the ones “assigned” to do “the task.” Curiously, the two other cops sitting in front of the van were kept in the shade for most of the movie. Their stories, the playful back-and-forth make obvious the link between the two groups — the cops and the crooks — something those who were behind the actual events wanted to bury, liquidate. At 80 minutes, Bamboo Dogs is relatively easier to sit thru than Balangiga. It’s dark, twisted, pointedly critical, and oftentimes funny — with a surreal ‘life flashing before your eyes’ moment near the end, and a Rez Cortez dance number in the credits.