Lumpia is a star in a crackling adventure comedy movie

DALY CITY, Calif. — In a crowdfunded action-comedy, the lumpia-wielding avenger resurfaces in Fogtown, teaming up with high school girl Rachel to stop a crime syndicate selling drugs disguised as food.

“No one will have that!” It’s too Filipino! That’s what one unlucky high schooler Rachel (April Absynth) says when she explains her crime-fighting name: Ate Hero is a pun on generational honorifics.

Director Patricio Ginelsa’s exuberant second feature is very Filipino indeed, but as with lumpia, everyone will want seconds.

In reality, Lumpia with a vengeance is a belated sequel to Ginelsa’s low-budget action comedy Lumpia (2003)which shows students struggling with bullies at a predominantly Filipino high school in the San Francisco Bay Area.

With a larger budget and exuberant pop art sheen, Ginelsa continues her high school education 18 years later, in comic book film form.

A scene from "Lumpia with a Vengeance." HANDOUT

A scene from “Lumpia with a Vengeance”. HANDOUT

Vengeance follows a vigilante known as Lumpia Man (Mark Muñoz), who tries to protect his reputation from a criminal gang that sells drug-based versions of the Filipino egg roll that gives him his name.

Ginelsa makes a running joke about mistaken dining identity: News reports initially claim murder victims were found with taquitos coming out of their mouths, but the Filipino mayor of Fogtown clarifies the distinction for a news conference packed with reporters who don’t still don’t understand. .

Comic book graphics introduce each character and punctuate fight scenes, and the sight of a fat, delicious lumpia wielding like a deadly weapon might seem silly. But despite this superficial glitz, food is a powerful metaphor. When used for good, it unites people of different cultures; mixed with drugs, it’s a corruption of culture.

Even without that subtext, Vengeance is a wild ride, with Muñoz, a veteran mixed martial arts fighter, as a strong and mostly silent presence.

Watch genre veteran Danny Trejo as a rival drug lord.

For more information on Lumpia with a Vengeance, Click here.

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