Set in the early 90’s, Blue Bustamante stars Joem Bascon as the downtrodden George Bustamante, a man desperate enough to provide for his family that he leaves the Philippines for Japan in search of a job that will pay him better money. Leaving behind his wife and son, George quickly discovers that engineering job are hard to come by, and at the behest of his friend Roger, takes a job as a stuntman on a television show. Ashamed to tell his family he is working as the ‘Blue Force’ on a Power Rangers like show called ‘Force Five’, George toils away without telling them what he does, until he discovers the show is a hit back in the Philippines.
It’s an earnest film, but too slight to make any serious observations on the family dynamic that happened to way too many Filipino families forced apart in search of a better life. The film does feature a strong lead performance from Bascon, an almost stoic presence for most of the film, George’s dogged determination quickly becomes the heart of the film.
However, the film gets bogged down in woefully excessive side stories that lead nowhere. Roger’s Obsession with the Beer Gardens, a Japanese stalker that wants to marry George and a elusive fellow cast member that seems to disappear at will, all water down any dramatic or focused comedic impact director Miko Livelo may have tried to illicit from George’s situation. It meanders too much and never finds a way to get back on track.
As a lighthearted comedy and drama Blue Bustamante is pretty harmless and entertaining enough, but what might have come from a more balanced and structured tone we’ll sadly never know. (Kirk Haviland)
Sunday, November 9th, 2:00pm, Royal Cinema