For many months on “Ang Probinsyano,” ace character actor Art Acuña languished in the uneventful role of a corrupt police colonel who was secretly playing footsies with Eddie Garcia and the cop series’ other major nemeses.
We’ve seen from some of his past portrayals in indie movies that Acuña is one of the best actors we have, so we felt that it was a crying shame that he was being so poorly used on the hit action-drama show, while the best acting bits were going to lesser talents like you-know-who and what’s-his-name.
Why sign up a real talent and then cast him in a predictable supporting role that perforce limits him to just looking conflicted and guilty as heck?
It was such a waste of good talent—and we really don’t have much of that on the local scene, do we?
Well, the good news is that “Ang Probinsyano” has belatedly come to its senses and given Acuña the thespic showcase his talent deserves, by way of a “grand exit” early this month that made dynamically dramatic use of his exceptional gift.
Now, we don’t know if our written “complaint” or “reminder” had anything to do with his belated showcase. The decidedly plus point is it finally took place, and the show’s viewers were all the better for it.
In the hugely compelling denouement to Acuña’s Colonel Carreon character, he finally realized the error of his ways and ratted on his criminal bosses.
Naturally, his days were numbered, and he knew it—but he still decided to go from heel to repentant hero.
His tragic comeuppance came in prison, where the crime lords ordered so many of their minions to beat him up and kill him that, despite the heroic fight he put up to save his life, he was a goner.
Before that sad eventuality, however, Acuña was able to lift the drama series to a higher thespic level with his “grand exit” of a stellar performance, which made up for the many months he’d spent, just tweedling his thumbs and biding his time on the show.
It was his “farewell” appearance—but, what a triumphant last hurrah!
Unfortunately, we won’t be seeing more of him in the “eternally” extended series, so we’ll have to make do with the lesser and broader talents who are left on the show.
Alas, they have become really irritating of late, contenting themselves with intoning grandiloquent clichés to indicate their deep and noble feelings, or resorting to teeth-gritting facial contortions to dramatize their “heroic” passion or rage. Spare us, please!
What should Acuña do next after his attention-calling exit on “Ang Probinsyano?”
TV drama series come up with acting showcases for nonstar talents only occasionally, so he should star in a challenging indie film to stretch his thespic limits even further.
Before that, however, the actor should focus on speaking Filipino dialogue like a native, so that he doesn’t have to dilute his portrayals with occasional, “half-half” references to his Fil-Am origins.
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