1991 – Alyas Batman En Robin/"Alias Batman And Robin" (Regal Films)
[Release date 6th April 1991, original title “Batman En Robin”]
Director Tony Y. Reyes Story/Screenplay Joey de Leon, Tony Y. Reyes Executive Producer Lily Monteverde Line Producer Tony Fajardo Production Co-ordinator Douglas Quijano Music Mon del Rosario Cinematography Oscar Querijero Editor Eduardo Jarlego Production Manager Eddie Castillo Production Controller Josie Bracamonte Production Designer Melchor Defensor Assistant Director Eddie Reyes Studio Manager/Post-Production In Charge Warlito M. Teodoro Post-Production Cooordinators Ligata Tan, Enrique Santos, Romalo Co Dubbing Coordinator Edna M. Pacardo Sound Effects Roel Capule Sound Supervision Joe Climaco Publicity & Promo Alfie Lorenzo, June T. Rufino Video Editor (Magnatech) Rolando Ortega Dubbing Supervisors Vangie Labalan, Lucy Quinto Publicity/Promo Assistant J.P. Pelgone Art Director Nancy Arcega Continuity Director Gerry Reyes Propsman Tikboy Estrada Setman Lito Torres Makeup Artist Baby Saro Schedule Master Wendell Dacillo Gaffer Rey Trinidad Special Effects Linda Torrente Assistant Editors Rico Salas, Tony Acurin Production Accountant Luz Veras Production Secretaries Theody Vidal, Aurora Elambayo, Angel Torres, Cirillo Santillo, Gina Elba Murro, Lina Mendoza, Emma Vitalicio, Helen Maglinao, Nilda Bibat, Kyna Jimenea, Jocelyn Matibag, Eva Castillo, Mariz Ortega, Margie Villalon Promotion Coordinators Armichel San Pascuaz, Marilou Billones, Sally Ojalo, Raquel Gacho Dubbing Looper Rene Lamis Assistant Sound Editor Ernesto Sagoisag Layout Artist Vic Delotano Sound Technicians Carlito Alagon, Louisito Maziza, Jay Baltera, C-Ger Ramirez, Marvin Flores, Alex Napiza, Anaclito Teope, Jun Galeon, Mido Lontag, Danny Gamba, Victor Elbo, Louie Galang, Marcelino Liwag, Romeri Castanares, Rudy Carnates, Lauro Frany, Raffy Casimsiman, Jebs Endozo, Rod Lontoc, Nestor Loyosa, Henry Bitana Lights Caretakers Boy Anao, Benjie Binavides, Cris Holgado, Vicente Bocino, Beben Casimsiman Catering Nene Fajardo
Cast Joey de Leon (Batman/Bruce), Keempee de Leon (Kevin/Robin), Rene Requiestas (Jocson/Joker), Dawn Zulueta, Vina Morales (Vina), Panchito [Alba] (Tiyo Paenguin), Almira Muhlach, Chinkee Tan, Cathy Mora, Ruben Rustia, Mon Alvir, Bomber Moran, Joaquin Fajardo, Yoyong Martinez, Rommel Valdez, Ernie Forte, Rene Hawkins, Danny Rojo, Bert Cayanan, Rey Solo, Jun de Guia, Ariel Villasanta, Nemy Gutierez, Enciong Reyes
At times producers didn't even bother slapping a new label on a familiar product. The Sixties, it seemed, was open season on
Kevin (Keempee de Leon) is a teenage dreamer obsessed with comics and especially Batman and Robin, lives with his older brother (Joey de Leon) in their parents' old house, is a champion swimmer at his local high school, and object of every young girl's affections. His jealous rival is schoolmate Jocson (Rene Requiestas), a would-be Casanova with full moustache and no front teeth and possibly the oldest schoolboy in the
With assistance from a slinky Cat Woman and her gang of masked she-kittens, Tiyo Paenguin and the Joker embark on a crime spree the likes of which “Gotham City” (or is it “Anila”, as a newspaper headline suggests?) has never seen. At the Smith and Wesson Dollar Exchange, the super-baddies point their guns at the cashiers – and then break into song and dance routine, whilst the girls behind the counter wave their upstretched arms in unison. And the musical numbers don't stop there. Kevin talks his older brother (Joey de Leon) into donning the superhero costumes and teaming up as the Caped Crusader and Wonder Boy in order to banish Paenguin and Joker, and by association, Evil from the world of the Right and Just. Over the top of a montage showing the two brothers getting into superhero shape and building their own Batmobile, musical copyright is once again flushed down the toilet to the tune of the Beach Boys' “Surfin' Safari”:
Do you still remember from your comic book?
All the series of the Dynamic Two
The Caped Crusader and the Wonder Boy
Kalaban nila ang mga goons (They fight all the goons)
Holy smoke, Batman and Robin
Oh my God! Batman and Robin
Praise the Lord Batman and Robin
Shoot na shoot Batman and Robin
Let’s do Bruce Wayne now and Dick Grayson now
They are all a part of me…
For all its surface weirdness and eccentricities to a Western audience, it must be remembered that Alyas Batman En Robin was considered a major release in the
Batman: No, no, I don't really like Batman.
Kevin: What do you like?
Batman: I'd like to be Starzan!
Kevin: What? Starzan? And turn it into shit?
Joey is still one of the most prolific presences on Philippines TV in four separate shows for GMA-7 – testament to any popular comedian's staying power, and their public's loyalty and adoration. The same can be said for Panchito Alba (“Uncle” Paenguin), the gruff, exasperated sidekick of Dolphy, the Philippines' King of Comedy, in movies and on stage together since the early Fifties, and a top-shelf comic in his own right. Rene Requiestas (Jocson/The Joker) found fame much later in his life as Joey de Leon's comic foil in many of solo outings, with his trademark missing front teeth and malleable moustache. Sadly, both comedians passed away soon after Batman – the 36 year-old Rene of tuberculosis in 1993, the much older Panchito following complications from a stroke in 1995, aged 70.
As with much of the
Paenguin: In a toilet bowl? That's why you're a shit, smell like shit, because you're always close to shit!
Joker: I thought you wanted to escape?
Paenguin: How? Are you going to put me in and flush me?
Then there's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it studio in-joke – Batman points to the Regal Films emblem on Kevin's Robin costume and says, “Wait, what's this? This is a Viva film [Regal's main rival]. Why is it on Regal? “I bought it already,” replies Kevin.
On the romance front there's young Kevin and his puppy-lovestruck classmate Vina (pop star/actress Vina Morales), who halt the film long enough for a duet in English which sounds like Celine Dion dropping her breakfast. Batman himself goes weak in the tights for ace reporter Angelique Legarda (Dawn Zulueta) and at one point even addresses the camera in a Wayne's World moment (come to think of it, Joey does look like an older, doughier Mike Myers) and asks the audience, “What if I do a dream sequence?” Cut to a fantasy poolside sequence in which Batman saves Angelic from a gang of goons but loses his mask, and tries to maintain his secret identity by wearing her bikini on his face. What can I tell you? I'm a sucker for lowbrow silliness. In a word: Comedy...Gold...
Despite the best efforts of Uncle and nephew, the true family values of goodness and justice prevail, and the storyline stresses that Batman is nothing without Robin, and vice versa. The film ends with the Batman clan, a reformed Paenguin and Joker, and a cast reunion on the front lawn outside the Batcave. There's even a few surprise additions: Angelique in a Wonder Woman costume (hubba hubba!), Superman, and even a go-go dancing dwarf Spiderman! Cue a second stolen tune, this time “At The Hop”, while the Joker points out his new-found humility in Taglish (a mangle of Tagalog and key English phrases):
Kung kayo ay isang salbahe (If you’re bad) and you are very naughty
You dirty rat. You’re very dirty rat!
Pwede pa kayo mag bago at hindi pa nahuhuli ang lahat (You can still change while it’s not too late)
Let us sing kumpare (friend) that the world means love and not the rot
Let us good na brod (Let's be a good brother),
Let us not be bad
Let’s be good na part (Let’s be part of good), let’s be afraid of God
Ahh... Let's believe in love!
It's equal parts comedy heaven and hell, and I sure know which part Rene Requiestas is in right now, tittering away in whiteface, after witnessing the DC Comics car crash courtesy of
Todd Stadtman’s review from his Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill! blog:
As a follow-up to my review of Bedmen Yarasa Adam, I thought I'd delve a little further into the abuses that the Batman copyright has suffered at the hands of filmmakers from non-English speaking lands. Today's stop: the
Thanks to its more recent vintage, the 1993 musical comedy Alyas Batman en Robin is probably the easiest to track down of all the Pinoy Bat-sploitation films -- not to mention the most widely reviewed. This is so much the case that I've never really made much of an effort to get my hands on it, secure in the knowledge that it would eventually fall into my lap one way or another. Well, that inevitable day has finally rolled around. And having now viewed Alyas Batman en Robin -- armed with the very low expectations that everything I'd heard about it seemed to justify -- I have to admit to being a bit surprised. Not that Alyas Batman en Robin is all that good, mind you. It's not. It's just that it ended up being fairly different from what I'd been lead to anticipate. This is largely due to the fact that, unlike its predecessors, Alyas is not an attempt to bring Batman and Robin's comic book world to the screen, but rather a tale of two doofy inhabitants of the everyday world -- the one in which Batman and Robin only exist in the comics -- who decide to take on the role of those fictional crime fighters in real life.
Alyas stars popular Filipino comedian and television presenter Joey de Leon, here continuing a string of successful pop culture spoofs that included Sheman: Mistress of the Universe and the Starzan films, both of which were helmed by Alyas director Tony Y. Reyes. This time around, De
While Joey and Kevin's fumblings in their attempts to personify Batman and Robin provide for a lot of Alyas Batman en Robin's comedy -- the exaggerated stiffness that Joey De Leon affects whenever he's in his Batsuit, for instance, is actually quite funny -- it's important to note that, for the most part, they're heroic exploits are successful, and result in their masked alter-egos being celebrated by the grateful populace of their city. In this sense, Alyas is far less the cut-rate knock-off of the original Batman that you might expect, and is instead a full-fledged appropriation and culturally-informed repurposing of the character; In other words, not the whitebread Batman of the comics, but a Batman born specifically of the Philippines, with a distinct Pinoy identity. This kind of cheeky hijacking of Western pop totems is one of the things I love most about Tagalog pop cinema. While Turkish films, for example, were equally profligate in their blatant borrowing of characters from Western films and comics -- and did end up doing some culturally-motivated retooling of those characters -- they seemed to be doing so for mainly mercenary purposes, while Filipino film's borrowing of such characters often seemed to have a far more transformative -- and even subversive -- intent. One can't really find a better example of this than Filipino film and comic book heroine Darna, a rural reinterpretation of Wonder Woman who acts as a savior to the poor residents of her small village.
While providing us with a fair amount of the biff-bang-pow action that one would expect from a Batman movie, Alyas Batman en Robin also goes about the business of being a romantic comedy. Young Kevin finds, much to his delight, that the object of his heretofore unrequited love, Vina (Vina Morales), has become besotted with Robin, but is foiled in his attempts to reveal his identity to her by the arrival on the scene of a flock of would-be suitors in Robin costumes. Meanwhile, Joey falls for Angelique (Dawn Zulueta), the genre-requisite "plucky girl reporter" hell-bent on getting the scoop on Batman's true identity. Eventually his romantic frustrations lead to him having a "dark night" of the soul of his own, with the result that Robin is left to fend for himself against the gang of costumed criminals. Eventually the pair rallies in time for a triumphant third act confrontation with the forces of evil, clearing the way for a chirpy, all singing, all dancing finale.
A staple of Joey de Leon's comedy act was his song parodies, which involved him singing his own putatively comical words to the tunes of popular oldies. With the exception of one, very eighties-sounding power ballad sung by Keempee de Leon and Vina Morales, these are the type of songs that comprise Alyas' several musical numbers. A training montage early in the film that features Kevin and Joey getting fit for their superheroic duties is accompanied by a tune lifted from the Beach Boys' "Surfin' Safari", to which off-screen vocalists sing:
"Holy smokes, Batman and Robin
Oh my God, Batman and Robin
Praise the Lord, Batman and Robin
Shoot, man, shoot, Batman and Robin
Let's do Bruce Wayne now
And Dick Grayson now
They are a part of me!"
The Joker (Filipino comedian and frequent De Leon sidekick Rene Requiestas in his final film role) and the Penguin (beloved comic actor Panchito) are incapable of pulling off a robbery without a bit of song and dance, and their spirit is so infectious that the besieged bank tellers and customers can't help but join in and act as their chorus line. Finally, everything comes to a silly karaoke-esque head with a closing number in which the principles -- heroes and villains alike -- are joined by dancers costumed as various superheroes (midget Spider-man!) to caper about and sing to the tune of "At The Hop":
"Let's be good, not bad
Let us not be bad
Let's be afraid of God
Let's believe in love!"
In contrast to the more anarchic, seemingly Mad Magazine-inspired style of the earlier James Batman, Alyas Batman en Robin is a gentler breed of Bat-comedy altogether, redolent of goofy sweetness and bearing an earnest up-with-people message at its core. We've seen this kind of aspirational comic fantasy before, with its riffing on everyday folks' use of popular fantasy heroes as repositories for their better selves. (Takashi Miike's Zebraman comes immediately to mind.) However, Alyas' intellectual-property-law-flaunting use of an actual, very recognizable piece of "real world" pop iconography disarmingly strips away a layer of artifice that those other films have to employ out of legal necessity, making possible an identification with the schleppy protagonists that is that much more poignant and immediate. It also doesn't hurt that the lead performers -- by which I refer to the DeLeons, both junior and senior, and Dawn Zulueta -- are all thoroughly likeable (and in Zuleuta's case, knee-tremblingly gorgeous in the bargain).
Again, this is not to say that Alyas Batman en Robin is a particularly good film. To be honest, it's startlingly amateurish on many levels and as hokey as all get out. Still, I think that, if you're willing to give it a chance, you'll find that it has quite a bit more to offer than what you might have read about it elsewhere on the internets would lead you to believe.
Phil Hall’s review from the Film Threat website:
The Turkish film industry is celebrated for its unique habit of taking
This time around, the Caped Crusaders are actually brothers who live in
Yes, musical numbers. It seems Joker, Penguin and Catwoman can't resist breaking into song and dance while stealing bags of cash from the local banks. Indeed, they are so inspiring that the bank tellers find themselves waving their arms and wiggling their bodies in time to the criminal music. But all good songs have to come to an end, and eventually Batman and Robin swing into action with their fists ready. Unfortunately, no one in the
"Alias Batman and Robin" also gives Batman a love interest in the shapely body of Angelique, a reporter who bears more than a passing resemblance to Margot Kidder's incarnation as
While this is going on, Joker and Penguin keep finding their way back into the crime scene. This is curious, since during the course of the film they are actually arrested three times. At one point, they escape from jail by dismantling the toilet in their prison cell and sliding down the pipes into the sewers! This dastardly pair even tries to pull a heist dressed as Batman and Robin, but the real Dynamic Duo show up and soon everyone is slapping each other silly. Eventually the film concludes with the entire cast standing in a park lot singing and dancing "Let's Be Good, Not Bad" to the melody of the old doo-wop song "At the Hop." Angelique the reporter dresses herself as Wonder Woman for this number, for no very clear reason. In the midst of this madness, a dwarf in a Spiderman costume, a sumo wrestler, and a man dressed like Peter Pan (none of whom had anything to do with the film) abruptly appear and shimmy back and forth.
In many ways, "Alias Batman and Robin" is a must-see campfest. Everything about the film is hopelessly wrong, from the shabby Halloween costumes worn by the eponymous heroes to the painfully embarrassing fight sequences where jabs fly a good 10 inches in front of faces while the soundtrack is clogged with clunky sound effects simulating connecting punches. Most of the film was clearly shot in private residences, schools and offices, giving the film an on-the-cheap home movie look while unintentionally forcing a lethal dose of reality into the world of the costumed crimefighters and their comic-mad enemies. Unlike the 1960s TV series or the Tim Burton films, which had specialized art decoration and set design to play up the comic book effect, "Alias Batman and Robin" puts its characters in the real world and thus exposes the inanity of the concept in having two men in capes and masks doing the job that departments packed with professional law enforcement officers are incapable of handling.
But truth be told, "Alias Batman and Robin" is hardly a non-stop joy. The film takes a particularly long time to get moving and often it lurches to strange stops for the most idiotic reasons (Robin and his high school sweetie sing a pop song love duet, Batman inexplicably vanishes and Robin has to fight a carload of villains on his own). Nor does it help that the entire cast is challenged in the charisma department; it is hard to recall another film where so many uninteresting people find themselves together in a single production.
Yet despite these problems, "Alias Batman and Robin" should be sought out by fans of the Caped Crusaders and those who take a perverse joy in experiencing the very best of the very worst of global cinema. Holy masochistic pleasure, Batman!
Review from the Webomatica website:
Best described as “Filipino Bat Man and Robin” this terrible-on-the-verge-of-hilarious flick is an unauthorized Batman spoof with the familiar caped comic-book crusaders played by local Filipino comedians – none that I recognized, naturally, since I know nothing about Filipino cinema. Batman and Robin fight the Joker and the Penguin, and the antics and costumes are all lifted from the sixties television show.
I enjoyed watching the first half hour, trying make heads or tails of the mostly Filipino dialog (this DVD had no subtitles) that occasionally lapses to English for key movie phrases like “my hero!” or “I love you!”. The film also occasionally lapses into a musical – one feel-good number features the Joker and the Penguin robbing a bank joined by fifty armed heavies. Most of the songs are covers of American rock tunes translated into Philipino except for a few English words, so the Beach Boy’s Surfin’ Safari is changed into Batman and Robin.
The actor who played the Joker (Rene Requiestas) was pretty freaking hilarious, cackling like a cockatoo, sporting an appropriately cockamamie hairstyle.
In watching Alyas Batman en Robin, I realized the leotard is an extremely unforgiving outfit – the average joe looks decidedly non-super. But what’s funny is how behavior transforms once the super-suit is donned. This Batman acts quite heroic, employing a unique double-fisted alternating punch-to-the-stomach technique that serves to eliminate 90% of the heavies that attack him. No wonder he never employed his utility belt.
Anyhow, there really isn’t much else to say about this film (not even the midget Spider-Man or the modified black Chevy Batmobile). Here’s a picture gallery if you have even a passing interest in this flick. It’s truly one of those toxic entertainments, that could be really awesome in certain situations and in particular company, but if you’re feeling slightly off, I feel you’d not get five minutes in before saying “this sucks.”