aka Batman En Robin, Alias Batman And Robin
Director Tony Y. Reyes Writers Joey de Leon, Tony Y. Reyes
Cast Joey de Leon (Batman/Bruce), Keempee de Leon (Kevin/Robin), Rene Requiestas (Jocson/Joker), Dawn Zulueta, Vina Morales (Vina), Panchito [Alba] (Tiyo Paenguin)
At times producers didn't even bother slapping a new label on a familiar product. The Sixties, it seemed, was open season on
Kevin (Keempee de Leon) is a teenage dreamer obsessed with comics and especially Batman and Robin, lives with his older brother (Joey de Leon) in their parents' old house, is a champion swimmer at his local high school, and object of every young girl's affections. His jealous rival is schoolmate Jocson (Rene Requiestas), a would-be Casanova with full moustache and no front teeth and possibly the oldest schoolboy in the
With assistance from a slinky Cat Woman and her gang of masked she-kittens, Tiyo Paenguin and the Joker embark on a crime spree the likes of which “Gotham City” (or is it “Anila”, as a newspaper headline suggests?) has never seen. At the Smith and Wesson Dollar Exchange, the super-baddies point their guns at the cashiers – and then break into song and dance routine, whilst the girls behind the counter wave their upstretched arms in unison. And the musical numbers don't stop there. Kevin talks his older brother into donning the superhero costumes and teaming up as the Caped Crusader and Wonder Boy in order to banish Paenguin and Joker, and by association, Evil from the world of the Right and Just. Over the top of a montage showing the two brothers getting into superhero shape and building their own Batmobile, musical copyright is once again flushed down the toilet to the tune of the Beach Boys' “Surfin' Safari”:
Do you still remember from your comic book?
All the series of the Dynamic Two
The Caped Crusader and the Wonder Boy
Kalaban nila ang mga goons (They fight all the goons)
Holy smoke, Batman and Robin
Oh my God! Batman and Robin
Praise the Lord Batman and Robin
Shoot na shoot Batman and Robin
Let’s do Bruce Wayne now and Dick Grayson now
They are all a part of me…
For all its surface weirdness and eccentricities to a Western audience, it must be remembered that Alyas Batman En Robin was considered a major release in the
Batman: No, no, I don't really like Batman.
Kevin: What do you like?
Batman: I'd like to be Starzan!
Kevin: What? Starzan? And turn it into shit?
Joey is still one of the most prolific presences on Philippines TV in four separate shows for GMA-7 – testament to any popular comedian's staying power, and their public's loyalty and adoration. The same can be said for Panchito Alba (“Uncle” Paenguin), the gruff, exasperated sidekick of Dolphy, the Philippines' King of Comedy, in movies and on stage together since the early Fifties, and a top-shelf comic in his own right. Rene Requiestas (Jocson/The Joker) found fame much later in his life as Joey de Leon's comic foil in many of solo outings, with his trademark missing front teeth and malleable moustache. Sadly, both comedians passed away soon after Batman – the 36 year-old Rene of tuberculosis in 1993, the much older Panchito following complications from a stroke in 1995, aged 70.
As with much of the
Paenguin: In a toilet bowl? That's why you're a shit, smell like shit, because you're always close to shit!
Joker: I thought you wanted to escape?
Paenguin: How? Are you going to put me in and flush me?
Then there's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it studio in-joke – Batman points to the Regal Films emblem on Kevin's Robin costume and says, “Wait, what's this? This is a Viva film [Regal's main rival]. Why is it on Regal? “I bought it already,” replies Kevin.
On the romance front there's young Kevin and his puppy-lovestruck classmate Vina (pop star/actress Vina Morales), who halt the film long enough for a duet in English which sounds like Celine Dion dropping her breakfast. Batman himself goes weak in the tights for ace reporter Angelique Legarda (Dawn Zulueta) and at one point even addresses the camera in a Wayne's World moment (come to think of it, Joey does look like an older, doughier Mike Myers) and asks the audience, “What if I do a dream sequence?” Cut to a fantasy poolside sequence in which Batman saves Angelic from a gang of goons but loses his mask, and tries to maintain his secret identity by wearing her bikini on his face. What can I tell you? I'm a sucker for lowbrow silliness. In a word: Comedy...Gold...
Despite the best efforts of Uncle and nephew, the true family values of goodness and justice prevail, and the storyline stresses that Batman is nothing without Robin, and vice versa. The film ends with the Batman clan, a reformed Paenguin and Joker, and a cast reunion on the front lawn outside the Batcave. There's even a few surprise additions: Angelique in a Wonder Woman costume (hubba hubba!), Superman, and even a go-go dancing dwarf Spiderman! Cue a second stolen tune, this time “At The Hop”, while the Joker points out his new-found humility in Taglish (a mangle of Tagalog and key English phrases):
Kung kayo ay isang salbahe (If you’re bad) and you are very naughty
You dirty rat. You’re very dirty rat!
Pwede pa kayo mag bago at hindi pa nahuhuli ang lahat (You can still change while it’s not too late)
Let us sing kumpare (friend) that the world means love and not the rot
Let us good na brod (Let's be a good brother),
Let us not be bad
Let’s be good na part (Let’s be part of good), let’s be afraid of God
Ahh... Let's believe in love!
It's equal parts comedy heaven and hell, and I sure know which part Rene Requiestas is in right now, tittering away in whiteface, after witnessing the DC Comics car crash courtesy of