Burlesk King: Mel Chionglo’s Follow-Up to Macho Dancers and Midnight Dancers

Mel Chionglo’s Burlesk King is a disappointing follow-up to his previous, much more charming efforts, Macho Dancers and Midnight Dancers. Using the same format and basic elements, but with no taste or restraint, new meller mixes sexually titillating scenes with heavy doses of sentimental melodrama in telling the story of Harry (Rodel Velayo), a young, handsome American-Filipino, who arrives in Manila to look for his father and avenge his mother’s death. Best prospects for this retro item is in the gay festival circuit, where Chionglo’s former, more entertaining pix, have been shown to a much better effect.

Haunted by his past, Harry leaves Olongapo for the big city of Manila, to find solace in various relationships with both men and women. To make ends meet, he finds work as a macho dancer in a gay bar, run by Mama Odette (Joel Lamangan). Through flashbacks, we learn that Harry’s father was abusive to him and his mom, ruthlessly pimping both of them. Cheesy dance-and-music sequences can’t help overcome the preposterously plotted and poorly executed story, which ends with Harry finding out that his mother is alive after all and forgiving his father for his sins.