On the Job (2013) – By Duane L. Martin

In the Philippines the corrupt and powerful call the shots, and no one holds more power and influence than General Pacheco. He’s running an assassination operation out of several prisons that’s been used by the rich and powerful, which means he holds total sway over them because of his ability to expose their use of his services.

Mario and Daniel are the two prisoner assassins the film focuses on. Mario is a grizzled old veteran at the game who’s doing it to get money to take care of his family and put his daughter through law school. Daniel is his young apprentice. He’s cocky and mostly doing it just for the money, but he also looks up to Mario as a sort of a father figure.

Then there’s the cop, Francis, who is married to a corrupt politician’s daughter. His father in law is in bed with the general and when they try to bring him in on the corruption as well, he’s torn between honor and family, but what do you do when your family has no honor?

It seems to me there was a film with a similar theme that I reviewed fairly recently, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was. In any case, this particular film I had a hard time getting into, and I can’t really put my finger on why that was exactly. It certainly wasn’t the performances. The entire cast was excellent. That just leaves the story I suppose.

I want to say before I go any farther that just because I had a hard time getting into this film, that doesn’t mean it was bad. It wasn’t bad at all, but there was something about it that made me feel like I was staring at it rather than being immersed into the story.

Now, that said, there were aspects of this film that were incredibly well done. The prison scenes in particular really felt immersive. There were some really phenomenal one take walkthroughs that make you feel like you’re really there with the characters.

Another part of the film that was really well done were the scenes where Mario went home to visit his family. His wife is a lot younger than him and very hot, and his daughter is now twenty-four years old with a boyfriend and they’re both in law school. He kills people to get money for them, but as it turns out later, his wife is cheating on him because he’s gone all the time. That sort of brings a lot of reality to his situation and creates a human element to his character that makes him someone you can feel something for, even though he’s a cold blooded killer.

Francis is another character you can really feel for. Caught between his job and his family, he’s put in the incredibly difficult position of having to decide between the two. He loves his wife and doesn’t want to hurt her father, but his conscience won’t allow him to get sucked into the corruption.

There are some great action and assassination scenes in the film that are not only incredibly realistic, but also very disturbing. Gritty is a good way to describe this film, both in its look and its story. It’s an excellent crime thriller, though there were certain aspects of the story that felt thrown in, while others felt like they weren’t touched on enough. That could be part of the reason I had a hard time getting into it. That was simply my personal experience though and not really a reflection on the quality of the film itself. People who love gritty crime thrillers will definitely dig this film a lot.

This new release from Well Go USA includes a making of featurette, deleted scenes and the film’s trailer for special features.

If you love gritty crime thrillers full of corruption and murder, then definitely give this one a look. You won’t be disappointed.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out its page on the Well Go USA website here, and if you’d like to pick up a copy for yourself, you can get the blu-ray or DVD from Amazon or from any of the other usual outlets.