This is the second team-up of Somes and actor Ronnie Lazaro. Last year, Lazaro took home Best Actor trophies from Cinema One Originals and Gawad Urian for Yanggaw. In Ishmael, there's a possibility that this will happen again. Lazaro plays the title role with gusto. No sense of remorse is seen on his face as he wields his bolo and delivers the entire town to their final destination. With similar intensity, Mark Gil plays the villain with all its nuances and ironies. He quotes verses from the Bible as quickly as he orders his men to behead those who hinder his plans. I believe Lazaro and Gil essay their roles convincingly enough to put them alongside the likes of Fernando Poe Jr., Ace Vergel, Bembol Roco, and Tony Ferrer.