REVIEW: Vance Larena shows great promise with inspiring role on MMK Chess

Change brings the best and worst in us.

Striving to change for the best is even more tedious and challenging, especially for someone languishing in a difficult environment. This meant turning back on a life of drug addiction and crime and focus on working for a bright future—a high school diploma, all while serving time in prison.

Since he was 12, Victorio (Vance Larena) had been working to make both ends meet for his family because of his father Nitoy (Ronnie Lazaro)’s failing health. But being exposed to the ills of the world at a very young age, Victorio could not resist the draw of criminal activity, especially the illegal drug trade, to earn more.

Devastated and desolate

Police would then hunt him down for drug dealing. Authorities would arrest and eventually haul Victorio into jail, leaving his family, especially his ailing father, on their own.  This left him devastated and desolate while in prison.

Victorio experienced a harsh and abused life in prison. He gets beaten up as he was initiated into a gang, and had been forced by authorities to reveal names of his superiors and those whom he transacted with in the drug trade. He would then choose to stay silent, as he fears for his family’s life should he squeal on his accomplices.

After his life turned for the worst, Victorio had since been enlightened to do something to end his woes, and think what’s best for him and his family. He would then find a way to continue his studies as he remained behind bars.

Achieved the impossible

Motivated by his intent to turn his life around, Victorio would study hard amid the distractions and disturbances of prison life. And after all the challenges and hurdles he faced in pursuing his dream, Victorio achieved what was believed as impossible—graduating as one of the top-caliber students in Quezon City. Not only that, Victorio would even be released from prison for his good behavior and outstanding scholarly performance, and get a scholarship from the city’s polytechnic institution.

Indeed, an inspiring tale that should make us strive for the best against all odds. Adding to the impressive impact of the story is the superb creative on-screen execution, led by director Elfren Vibar and head writer Mae Rose Balanay, that really moved viewers.

Brilliant perfomance

Yet the most exceptional factor was the brilliant performance by the up-and-coming actor Vance Larena, whose believable and intense portrayal of a down-and-out, misguided adolescent seeking redemption and succeeding at it was widely admired.

Netizens were enthralled.