REVIEW: La Luna Sangre surges in second week with impressive KathNiel performance

Accumulating approximately three million tweets and reaching the peak of 35% viewership ratings, La Luna Sangre brought out the most remarkable pilot week in local TV.

The second week was just as impressive.

Now we see Malia and Tristan all grown up and portrayed by the country’s foremost love team Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla.

Malia is now a savior in training out to vanquish the supreme vampire Sandrino (Richard Gutierrez). Yet, on the day of her 21st birthday, the time when her awesome powers and fighting skills were supposed to have been apparent, she failed to show any indication that she was the Chosen one. Malia ended up beaten to a pulp by vampires ordered to test her limits.

Lia’s resting place

Frustrated and dejected, Malia found comfort in her best friend Jake (Tony Labrusca), who brought her to Manila to find solace. There she found with Jake’s help, her mom Lia’s final resting place, where she broke down and voiced out how she misses her while venting out her frustrations of not having to meet the expectations of her La Liga Unida comrades as their Chosen one. Tristan on the other hand now leads a new life in the city after his aunts adopted him since the tragic death of his father Tonio (Romnick Sarmenta) in that ferocious battle with Sandrino’s vampire minions. Summer (Desiree del Valle), Spring (Joanne Bugcat), and Winter (Alora Sasam) took Tristan to Manila granting their late sister Fall’s (Tanya Garcia) final wish that they take care of him and oversee his future. He has since toiled the city streets as a jeepney driver plying his route joyously under the supervision of his domineering aunts. Yet he showed he was more than just an ordinary jeepney driver. When a thief victimized him and his passengers, he pursued him relentlessly until he caught up with the robber, who was now reinforced by elements from a purported syndicate. There he took him one by one in true Padilla fashion, as his acrobatic kicks and powerful punches were too much for the bad guys.

Unwitting reunion

That set the stage for their “unwitting” reunion—when a jolly, jaunty and carefree Tristan chanced upon a hurt, downtrodden and frustrated Malia sleeping in his jeepney after she emerged weeping from the cemetery alone and nowhere to go. And as Tristan glanced at the shattered beauty and Malia opened her eyes, it was an electrifying moment for viewers. They had laid their eyes on each other for the first time as grown-ups, indicating the start of a long, perilous journey of revenge, redemption and vindication. Meanwhile, a cluster of elite vampires under Sandrino are in the city, taking over infamous clubs and party venues in order to convert more mortals to vampires. He was able to meet his muse, Diana (Sam Pinto), with whom he envisages vampire royalty together.

New dimensions in craft

We are definitely impressed and delighted to see how Kathryn and Daniel showcased new dimensions in their craft, with Richard making a commendable first portrayal of a villain. Kathryn proved she could go the distance in dramatic and action sequences.

Daniel, on the other hand, showed how much of a Padilla he is in taking a bunch of bad guys on his own. And of course, his comedic timing is impeccable. Indeed, the hardships and sacrifices they endured in their training paid off as they are able to give us compelling and jaw-dropping performances.

Kathryn’s acting Here, we are impressed with Kathryn’s acting, especially in that gripping scene when she tried with all her might to unleash the power of being the chosen one prophesized to kill the supreme vampire, but came up with nothing to show—only beaten and bruised by vampires ordered by Frederick (Victor Neri) to test her supposed abilities.

What’s also noteworthy is the seamless introduction of new characters. Desiree, Joanne, and Alora are indeed doing a great job in portraying the domineering but droll aunts who make life tough for Tristan. We are also delighted with the way Randy Santiago (Doc), Hyubs Azarcon (Bogart), Sam Pinto (Diana), Wilma Doesnt, and Jef Gaitan are all introduced in the series and how they effectively fit in their characters.

True vampire king

Of all villainous performances, Richard truly takes the cake in his moving portrayal of Sandrino. He doesn’t even need to open his mouth to slay his role. You just look at his eyes, his posture, his gestures and really muster a convincing and compelling presence of a true vampire king.

And director Cathy Garcia-Molina, with co-directors Richard Arellano and GB Sampedro, has truly made it a masterpiece we now can’t miss on primetime, with its visual brilliance, creative distinction, and production superiority that people will always look forward to witness every weeknight, without batting an eyelash.

Viewers are really taken and absorbed.