Batang X premiered during the 90’s back when cinema was still the ultimate family activity to go see the movies. I don’t remember much of the story anymore even when I saw it again uploaded on YouTube for everyone to see. Upon watching it again, that’s when I realized that what I remember about the story itself is a far cry to what I actually remember.
Batang X primarily is not a kid’s movie. And it’s not a bad thing.
Five kids were “chosen” to save the world. I put chosen in quotes because four of them were actually abducted in broad daylight. Angel and Kiko were taken away while trying to get mangoes.
Trina was taken away right under her wealthy parents’ nose because it seems that they don’t see her. (They are too preoccupied about whether or not to buy a new car.) Bugoy was arrested only to turn out that the cops that took him away are the same henchmen that took away the other kids.
What about the fifth kid?
The fifth kid is not supposed to be part of the plot. The mastermind behind the abduction, Dr. Axis, only needed the four kids, earlier dubbed as mutants, to save herself from her nemesis, Zygrax. One of the doctors in the project related to the abduction, Dr. Kuwago, hypothesized that a fifth kid is needed to complete the alchemy. But because the kid that Dr. Kuwago proposed is clinically a vegetable, Dr. Axis dismissed his advice.
For a character presented by the default narrator, Dr. Kuwago, as a super genius, Dr. Axis did nothing but look glamorous around the laboratory and sip champagne. But the team of surgeons operated based on her plan. A plan that seemed super-secret based on the observation that no cops are involved. And the only parents that seemed concerned about the kids’ kidnapping is the parents of Angel and Kiko.
Speaking of Angel and Kiko, they didn’t know that they were brothers after the surgery and during the lab tests. This part of the story reminded me of how Shadow Moon lost all of his memories after the surgery featured at Kamen Rider Black.
Actually, all four kids have no memory of who they are after the surgery. So no kids begging for them to be returned to their parents. The only major inconvenience they have at the moment was being tested on a daily basis without knowing why.
Only the adults in the story knew why. I suddenly felt bad for the kids now that I understand. They’re practically lab rats that can fight back based on skills expected of them. And only Angel’s gift is obvious from the beginning – the ability to levitate.
Remember how Trina early in the movie complained how her own parents don’t see her? That is her gift – invisibility. But only when extremely scared. The tongue-in-cheek approach as to how her power is explained in a backhanded way is genius.
Kiko’s power is not so obvious. But remarkable to the people around him – the ability to sense despite the lack of sight. His character turned out to be slightly inspired from Marvel’s Cyclops except that his blindness was cured first before the power was unleashed.
As for Bugoy? He’s the kiddie hulk. To think that all four kids were exposed to gamma-like rays.
When I first saw Batang X, at the back of my head, I already sensed that this is a local attempt to ride on the popularity of The Uncanny X-Men, the animated series that aired on ABS-CBN then. On how similar are the powers would be to the actual X-Men, I could not see beyond that of Kiko (pun intended).
But knowing that the original plan involved using these kids as pawns against Zygrax means a flaw in the plan. If Zygrax can find another set of kids and use the Dr. Axis’ plan, he already has an ace up his sleeve against his opponent.
What is Dr. Axis and Zygrax fighting over? The power source of planet Earth.
The plot is great. It also helped that there is character development. True, the kids were a bunch of amnesiacs during their stay in Dr. Axis’ facility. But Angel and Kiko don’t believe anything they are told.
This is a contrast to Bugoy who simply accepted everything including Dr. Axis’ claim that she is their mother. The story implied that he’s the only orphan among the kids. So anyone presenting herself as his mother will be believable to Bugoy.
Kids being kids. Listening to whatever seems convenient to them while discussing among themselves what doesn’t feel right. It became obvious that Bugoy will be the other problem later in the story.
Don’t worry. The story hasn’t gone too dark to forget that its target market are kids. The two henchmen end up joining the lab tests either to provoke the kids into unleashing their powers on a regular basis or to be occasional objects of pranks for these children. Because kids don’t always respect their elders.
Now before all hope is lost about kids being disobedient rascals, the fifth kid comes into play, the kid that Dr. Kuwago named Control. Dr. Axis can only enhance whatever talent each of the four kids possess. But only Control can complete the alchemy in the same way that the CPU completes the functionality of a computer under the guidance of Dr. Kuwago.
Control is obviously based on Professor X. And that completes the inspiration behind Batang X.
If Batang X is a game, Control is in charge of the characters in the facility. So he controlled (pun intended) not just one but all four characters – characters with their own stubborn minds. He becomes a vital part of the battle since he knew of the kids’ powers more than the kids themselves similar to how a gamer has mastered the strengths and weaknesses of his characters.
I will not spoil the ending. I can only say that whatever it lacked in explosions and fight scenes, it made up for family-friendly values.
The last time interest in Batang X was rekindled was when it became a weekly TV series on TV5, a reminder that the TV series that followed the film also got aired on the same channel back when it was known as ABC5. I watched neither so it would be unfair for me to comment on them.
How long will Batang X be up on the Regal Entertainment YouTube channel? Watch here while the link is still up.