Perhaps Nigerians would be drawn to watch Nollywood movies more following the release of Kemi Adetiba’s King Of Boys: The Return Of The King.
There is the belief that Nollywood producers are now stepping up their game because over the years, we’ve been saddled with stale, clichéd, and amateurish movies. It is important to note that the viewers are interested in movies that brew excellence in all of their actions, directing, and cinematography and not one that is acted quickly to seek monetary gains and a spot at the box office. Until now, there has been a bitter backlash against Nollywood movies that failed in some part but with the coming of new movies like KOB 2, the narrative is beginning to change.
After the release of the movie King of Boys in October 2018, Kemi Adetiba surprised us with a trailer in August 2021 unveiling it as a series. This time, we wered awed with the inclusion of some new faces joining the existing train. The Netflix original series, brimming with seven episodes and first of its kind stars fresh faces like Charly Boy, Nse Ikpe Etim, Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, Lord Frank, etc.
King Of Boys: The Return Of The King is a masterpiece that stands tall in the annals of contemporary Nollywood, spiced with a blend of Yoruba and Igbo which hint at the rich culture of a country like Nigeria.
In the opening episode of the movie, Alhaja Eniola who returns to the country after five years in exile is exonerated and declared a free citizen. Her arrival is timed for a run for the next gubernatorial seat of Lagos State alongside the Incumbent Governor: Babatunde Randle (Lord Frank) and other candidates. The movie which focuses on the hunger for power plunges us by surprise in several twists as different from the former. The directorial skill in this movie is commendable and an applause goes to the cinematographer and director whose dexterity makes each scene come alive. The movie is indeed dazzling!
Although, this season stands out in some areas but exhibits some weaknesses. Makanaki (Reminisce) who is assumed to be dead lunges out from the dark all of a sudden to wreak havoc. Being one of the leading characters in the movie, his presence makes the movie complete s. His stellar performance in the first part earned him a nomination at the Africa Magic Movie Awards (AMAA) His alliance with Oba (Sola Sobowale) in the concluding part leaves the mouth agape with bemusement as he names her on the list of persons to kill. Will it turn out as a game or a strategy? Indeed, we’re sunk in a quagmire.
The Yoruba proverbs and incantations seem overwhelming and serve as an impediment where action should prevail in a scene. The character of Oba is undoubtedly a brilliant one but she becomes too engrossed in lengthy proverbs which make the movie a bit clumsy for non-speakers.
Nse Ikpe Etim who plays Jumoke Randle in the movie dazzles throughout. She is an actor and character with a refined act and elegance. For someone who wasn’t in the first iteration she brings her A game to the table. She disclosed in a recent interviewthat her role in the King Of Boys: The Return Of The King demanded a lot. Merely acting on the script of her stern Mother-in-law (Taiwo Ajai-Lycett), she palpitates in fear even when her manipulations to bring down Oba (Sola Sobowale) become futile.
The series compels us to take aclose look at the character of Toni Tones (as young Eniola Salami); the role she plays is unimportant and does not contribute in any way to the plot development of the movie. Her character is quite boring, clichéd and adds little to the movie.
King of Boys: The Return of The King touches on a handful of issues that range from betrayal, rebellion, rivalry, power, and greed. There is a heavy portrayal of politics in the church and the media houses. We’re drawn to see the church as a tool for political machinations, canvassing of votes, and partisan support.
RMD (Rev. Ifeanyi) is left in a tight position to endorse the party of Babatunde Randle and Alhaja Salami. Likewise, the director of the Conscience Newspaper; Habib Mogaji (Bimbo Manuel) makes grave revelations at a meeting This shows how politics goes beyond to silence the truth, oppress the weak, and threaten whoever stands in its way.
The movie wraps up in a suspenseful manner with an ominous twist as what seems to be a betrayal scene turns into an alliance of forces between Titi Kuti (Ade Tiger) and Sola Sobowale (Eniola Salami).
It is ironical that Alhaja Eniola Salami visits the elders to hand over her crown to Odudubariba (Charly Boy) only for viewers to realize that the roundtable elders had dug a pit for her which they never realized they would fall into eventually. They set a trap for the King but ended us as the prey instead.
Only the audience realizes the doom that awaits them in what is a cool employment of dramatic irony by the director.
In conclusion, what are we to make of Ade Tiger’s loyalty ?. Being a series, we’re shawled in a suspenseful wait for the next season. Will it maintain the heat of this season? We’re left with questions and doubts.
**Emmanuel Ojeikhodion is an emerging Nigerian poet and essayist