Viva Film’s Ranger G showcases the gruesome and unforgiving training of the famous Filipino actor Matteo Guidicelli during his Scout Ranger reservist training. The army unit that was created to combat the Hukbalahap in the 1950s. This is an elite special forces unit specializing in urban and jungle warfare under the Philippine Army.
A grand mansion, a dashing acting career and his multi-talented bride-to-be – Matteo left all this behind to join the Scout Rangers Regiment of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Eager to march on, the curious cat roared “I love my country” as he left his life of comfort for one month.
Green camo, black boots and a shaved head – this was not the life he was prepared for. Instead of deep sleeps on a king size bed, he slept in a tent. Instead of breakfast in bed, he joined 10 other soldiers laying on the grass – eating with their bare hands with the food placed on a single plastic microwavable. “Mess time” they called it. His bubble baths turned into bathing in muddy waters. From walking the red carpet to crab walking on rough asphalt. Instead of cuddling with his beloved, he hugged a rifle for safety. He was scolded by his superiors and he wasn’t taken seriously by his colleagues. He was interrogated, drowned upside down in a barrel of water, and beaten to near death. “Passing out, heat strokes and injuries was normal” he said as his emotions bleed into his eyes.
While the film was successful in capturing the hardships of Matteo, one can nitpick the technical issues that are prevalent throughout the production. Although shaky cam is now gaining appreciation, one can’t help but notice the instances of the cameraman hitting record even before getting his composition correct in this documentary. In some scenes, the colorist might have sacrificed proper lip color for trendy color grading. It would’ve also been better if they had better clips of the Marawi Siege.
Matteo Guidicelli has attracted criticism for his political views after his training. Putting all of that aside, the documentary still allows us to explore the world of our local armed forces. It gives us newfound respect for the defenders of our sovereignty. We can nitpick its shortcomings and political views but at the end of the day, it’s a win for Philippine culture.
Ranger G gets a 7/10
Catch Ranger G on http://www.iwant.ph
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