5 movies that cemented the stereotypes of Nollywood we know and also on Netflix international.
We see nothing like enough African cinema on UK screens, and certainly very little African popular cinema – so the arrival of this cheerful caper, newly minted as Nigeria’s biggest box-office hit, might seem a forward step. In and of itself, however, it’s not a vast improvement on those Nollywood timekillers on satellite TV’s outer reaches that serve up 100 minutes of slapdash plotting, variable acting and consistently muffed jokes.
1. MERRY MEN: THE REAL YORUBA DEMONS
Four promiscuous businessmen must scheme to save the poor people of a village after a corrupt politician challenges them.
Some of Merry Men has evidently been lost in translation – hence the businessman cursed for having “chewed every piece of sliced national cake” – though its release in the UK is likely down to its relative slickness: there’s visibly money behind it. Our heroes – four bantering Abujans styled after The Hangover’s Wolfpack – turn up in sports cars and set about manhandling the local women against gleaming, well-dressed backdrops. Their sole redeeming feature is that they use their smooth tongues to rob the rich and give back to slum-bound relatives. Yet as one of the merry men is an industrialist and another a gigolo, you can’t help wondering why they don’t just write a cheque, rather than put themselves through a tortuous non-plot, muddling its way around hacked sex tapes with scant trace of narrative connective tissue.
Well, if watertight storytelling isn’t Merry Men’s strong point, some of the supporting performances are so broad they can only raise chuckles. And director Toka McBaror appears far less interested in organising these disparate elements into a coherent film than ensuring the various hotel chains and hire-car providers who put up some of the collateral get the desired placement. We’re left with glimpses and glimmers of a cinema growing in confidence – one that’s learning how to put its resources up on screen in ways that might appeal to audiences at home and abroad. But it’s still early days.
2. MERRY MEN 2
Four men have stopped robbing the rich to give to the poor and now are focusing on running their businesses.
Considering it had a budget hundreds of times smaller than Fast & Furious, this sequel to last year’s top Nollywood grosser, Merry Men: The Real Yoruba Demons, makes a reasonable stab at being a Nigerian version of the Hollywood action-film franchise. Said merry men are four Lagos playboys who are showing dangerous signs of shrugging off their roguish pasts and settling down, when Abuja politician Dame Maduka kidnaps one of their wives and blackmails them into jacking crucial evidence in her forthcoming graft trial.
You couldn’t call Merry Men 2 stunningly original, but director Moses Inwang and producer Ayo Makun (who had a hand in several top-end 2010 Nollywood films and also stars in this film) have studied the Fast & Furious handbook. Inhabiting that just-in-the-movies crossover between the criminal fringe and sexy high-stakes espionage, the film ticks off flashy jump-cut hotel-foyer entrances, shameless consumerism and shady paramours coming back from the dead, then slaps a family-values rosette on top. Tonal swerves from thriller to comedy aren’t any wilder than those between Vin Diesel and Ludacris, even if the film doesn’t quite have the same level of control a multimillion-dollar screenwriter buys you. It’s not so easy keeping up the tension in a central standoff scene when there are three laser dots hovering over one character’s penis.
There are encouraging signs here that Nollywood is upping its action game, at least as far as realising how quick editing can cover for a multitude of staging sins. Which is lucky, because Inwang has no idea how to mount a dialogue scene, a series of lugubrious exposition-fests gradually tranquillising the film. Key newsflash in many is corruption and who gets the rightful share of the “national cake”. A higher share possibly needs to go into arts funding, with the acting still awful across the board. Only in broad Nollywood comedy mode does it feel truly convincing. Seeing suave superstar Ramsey Nouah decked out as a pig-dangling villager is a reminder that sometimes it’s best to keep it rural.
3. KING OF BOYS
A businesswoman and philanthropist with a checkered past is drawn into a power struggle that threatens everything she holds dear.
This article will be reviewing the Kemi Adetiba’s movie, King of Boys, this is a review so there might be some spoilers. We, therefore, issue a spoiler warning. The King of Boys Movie is a political thriller, it was written and directed by Kemi Adetiba.
The King of Boys Movie follows the story of Alhaja Eniola Salami, she is a businesswoman and philanthropist with a colourful past. She is the ruthless ruler of the Lagos Political underworld, she has her sight set on finally acquiring a political position. Alhaja Eniola Salami has to trade her underground power for a coveted political position. The King of Boys film follows her journey to her underworld throne and fight for her political ambitions.
The political thriller has a lot of strong themes: ambition, power, greed, vengeance, karma, violence and female empowerment. Lust of power was one of the strongest themes that resonated in the movie, using the protagonist Eniola Salmi to illustrate the consequences of an unrestrained lust for power. Corruption was another strong theme that resonated throughout the movie. King of Boys illustrates how corruption can be founded in different places and in every place from businesses, politics to even personal relationships. King of boys had great and heavy dialogue especially when Eniola Salami spoke. The story unfolded in such an interesting way that kept audience gripped at every turn even though the movie was very lengthy. The characters were wonderfully written, they were strong and dimensional characters. The audience will adore, admire and even resonate with one or two of the characters.
4. LION HEART
Looking to prove her worth, a woman steps up to the challenge to work with her crude and eccentric brother when her father, Chief Ernest Obiagu is forced to take a step back due to health issues.
Lionheart” is only partly a movie about how a woman takes charge of a company in a sexist society. While recuperating, Adaeze’s father unexpectedly passes over her to appoint Godswill (Nkem Owoh), his brother, as the acting head, igniting odd-couple tension and comedy between the managers. But as a clock ticks down on settling the company’s debts, with an unscrupulous competitor (Kanayo O. Kanayo) circling, Godswill’s brash, transactional style meshes well with Adaeze’s measured approach.
Along the way, “Lionheart” offers sidelong observations about the importance of preserving a family legacy; the need for comity among Nigeria’s classes and ethnic groups; and the wisdom of older generations, even when change is necessary. It is globally minded filmmaking that is also comfortingly familiar.
woman’s family is worried about her because even though she appears to have the perfect life, she is unmarried.
The movie follows Isoken (Dakore Akande), a 34-year-old successful but single woman, who is under a lot of pressure from her mother (Tina Mba) to get married, especially, as her two younger sisters are already married.
After a string of failed matchmaking, Isoken’s mother finally succeeds with Osaze (Joseph Benjamin), who is also from Edo State, successful, handsome and from a good family.
In an unexpected series of embarrassing events, Isoken meets Kevin (Marc Rhys) an English photographer, and begins a beautiful friendship with him.
She finds herself faced with choosing from two men from different cultural backgrounds, with unique attractive attributes.
In a society where an unmarried woman, despite her accomplishments, doesn’t command as much respect as her married counterparts, “Isoken” comes in handy. ‘
She is constantly reminded by her dramatic mother that a degree, MBA or PhD won’t get her a man or kids.
Isoken is a character some men and most women can relate with. Her travails, sacrifices and story is familiar.
The movie is funny – not in a rolling-on-the-floor kind of way, but in the knowing smile and chuckle kind of way. In the ‘I know a mother or aunt like this’ way. In the ‘I have been there’ kind of way.
The laughs are accompanied by insights into friendship, love, societal pressure, self-confidence, courage and stereotypes.