‘Double Barrel’ director Toto Natividad revives Filipino action film industry


Jeric Raval, Toto Natividad, Conan Altatis

Jeric Raval, Toto Natividad, Conan Altatis

As a young kid, Toto Natividad was a big fan of Filipino action stars including the late Fernando Poe Jr. Decades later, the former became a master director known for his long list of action films that featured almost all of the action stars in the Philippines.

Action films had their glory days in the Philippines from 1980s to 1990s and Jeric Raval is arguably considered the last Filipino action star. Fans of the actor are in for a treat as he is set to make a comeback on the big screen with Natividad’s upcoming action film.

For the past three decades, romantic movies and comedy family films dominated the box office in the Philippines and Filipino action films were almost unheard of. This does not mean, however, that the action film industry is already dead in the country.

On the small screen, Natividad is one of the directors of the action-drama series “Ang Probinsiyano,” in which Raval plays a character named Gener Guinto. On the big screen, Natividad and Raval are offering a new action film titled “Double Barrel.”

On June 18, the cast and crew of “Double Barrel” had their last day of filming in Navotas City, Metro Manila. I was given the opportunity to watch and observe how Natividad works with his team in order to come up with a masterful action film.

Natividad’s decades of experience in his craft were evident with how he smoothly directed his actors and his crew in order to obtain the desired output he wanted in each frame of his film. In a short break during the filming, I grabbed the chance to interview the master director.

One of the first things I wanted to know was the secret behind the longevity of Natividad’s career as a filmmaker. He cited continuous and regular studying and hunger for knowledge as the characteristics that a filmmaker needs to have a staying power in the film industry.

When asked why Filipinos should watch “Double Barrel,” Natividad pointed out that his fellow countrymen should patronize their own because these films mirror their own culture and experience. This is important because in the past, around 365 films were being made every year in the country but nowadays, only 50 to 60 films are being produced each year, the director added.

Viewers can also learn lessons by watching films like “Double Barrel,” Natividad said. Inspired by true events, the film is about a young couple who are so poor that they have to work as hired killers.

AJ Muhlach and Phoebe Walker play the couple in “Double Barrel.” Raval and Ali Khatibi are among those who play cops in the upcoming action film.

Produced by Viva Films, “Double Barrel” will be in Philippine cinemas nationwide on Aug. 9. Watch my full interview with Natividad here:

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