Cinema/TV, Film Notes

Film review – Alyas Batman En Robin (1991)

My notes on Alyas Batman En Robin (1991)

As damnedest-thing-you-ever-saw Filipino Bat-comedies go, this musical effort isn’t a patch on James Batman – but it is weirdsville. So far as I can make out (my Tagalog isn’t great), it’s not about the real Batman and Robin but two average schlubs named Bruce (Joey de Leon) and Kevin (Keempee de Leon) who make their own costumes and customise a Batmobile in reaction to a pair of flamboyant crooks (Panchito, Rene Requiestas) who decide to dress up as Penguin (or ‘chopaengin’) and Joker in order to pull off a series of robberies in which they sing new Tagalog/English lyrics to rock n roll standards (Lucille, Surfin’ Safari) accompanied by a chorus of henchpersons (including a slinky Catwoman) and victims.

Bruce is interviewed by a reporter (Dawn Zuluetas), politely offering her bat-juice or bat-coffee in his cave kitchen, and falls in love with her. A dream he has of saving her from thugs – which includes getting his ripped-off mask and her ripped-off bikini top mixed up – prompts him to give up crime-fighting, whereupon Robin is injured going solo and he returns to the fray. The baddies are caught, but escape through the jail sewer and dress up as the heroes to pull off a hold-up – only to run into some thugs with a grudge against Batman and Robin. The real fake heroes help out the baddies dressed as them, and they reform enough to take part in an energetic version of ‘At the Hop’ to indicate that they’ve reformed (‘let’s be good not bad/let’s ge afraid of God’). The reporter turns up dressed as Wonder Woman and, besides a midget Spider-Man, the dance troupe includes extras dressed as Superman, Zorro, Tarzan and other less identifiable hero characters.

Though made in the era of Tim Burton’s bat-films, the frame of reference is strictly the Adam West series – the Neal Hefti music is used, and the car, costumes and logos echo the 1960s Batmania look (no ‘Biff! Pow! Crunch!’ though). It’s painless, but the mugging gets on the nerves – especially the Joker’s shrill laugh – and any verbal subtleties are lost on me. Directed by Tony Y. Reyes.


One thought on “Film review – Alyas Batman En Robin (1991)

  1. Wonderful. Thank you for (‘let’s be good not bad/let’s ge afraid of God’) – made my day. The fellows and/or ladies who do those Secret Cinema things – hats off, and all – though wouldn’t it be Wondrous if we could have some kind of real Magical Mystery Tour type cinema going on, films such as the above favoured over the all-very-well stylish and popular likes of Drive or Ghost Chase, where a splendid time is had by all, hopefully with much pseudo-Masonic or The Prisoner or Alice In Wonderland imagery in not-too-intrusive effect, and good old red velvet cinemas. Kind of a benign Escape From NY milieu. Just a thought, kind of a cult film gin-reverie. This is the dream of a man who frets he may never actually leave from under the kitchen table again.

    Posted by wmsagittarius | April 18, 2020, 2:21 am

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