The movie definitely starts with a bang. We watch as our two hitmen POV characters openly assassinate a politician during a festival; serving as the younger's initiation into the "business". These men are hired killers. Professionals. When they are needed, they are hauled out of prison to fulfill the request provided by a middle man. Once the job is done, they are returned behind prison bars as if nothing happened, creating a strong alibi and leaving them out of sight of much more upright authorities. This sets up much of the movie's plot, moving from the point of view of these two characters to a full-blown nation wide "conspiracy".
Running in parallel is the "cop/law agents" story. They uncover a dearth of information that would eventually lead to them crossing paths with the aforementioned killer duo. Their shared background might not sound all that interesting but the dynamic in play between the two is well-written and brilliantly played.
If this all sounds too by-the-book, at times, it quite is. However, it packs enough twists and punches to keep you on your toes. Even the more cliched scenarios are played out wonderfully. Chases, in particular, seem to be Erik Matti's strong suit.
One scene in particular left me on the edge of my seat, shaking, teeth clattering. and tearing up. I can't believe what I was seeing. These are the action scenes that people long bored with Hollywood's usual routine clamor for. The confrontations are intimate and intense and will ensnare you at every turn. That one scene, in particular, is definitely one of the most memorable movie experiences for me and I was tearing up because I couldn't believe I was watching a local movie.
The chilling part about the story is that it might as well have been a documentary. There are no super strong people here nor can people survive multiple gun shots. When people jump from rooftops, they get hobbled. The movie does not shy away from showing Manila's dark side and how dirty politics can get. It's scary just how plausible everything is.
On The Job will take you on a smart thrill ride up until and beyond its emotionally charged finale. It's definitely a movie worth seeing. It started showing on select theaters in North America last September 27.
Have any questions about the plot or anything about the movie or anything at all? Feel free to comment down below! :)
ps. Heh, this got delayed for a long time and now I can't write anything properly but I still wanted to publish this in case anyone is interested.