A year ago (actually last week), first thing that popped into my head at the mention of Lion heart was Jean Claude Van Damme’s signature Last fight winning kick. Right now it is safe to say that there is only one LION HEART, Genevieve Nnaji’s OBIAGU…
LION HEART—BRAVE HEART, One thing in common: DIRECTOR EXCELLENCE; Mel Gibson = Genevieve Nnaji
Before I start the review, let me get this out of my head, I DO NOT IN ANYWAY LIKE GENEVIEVE NNAJI, I MIGHT ACTUALLY HATE HER…I have always thought her to be an overrated actress and have always struggled to mention one movie, one role in which I was impressed by her acting. Her villainy role in BLOOD SISTERS and her treatment of Emeka Ike in PASSION AND PAIN must have contributed to my burning hatred for her. Still I couldn’t help but clap for my Nollywood enemy on this one.
THE GOOD: Lionheart is an infinitely good movie, it is hard to list all the ways in which it tickled, all the ways it made you believe in Nollywood again. Move over Mr.Kunle Afolayan, the industry is growing and you are not the only wizard on the block.
- First off, all Igbo people, emphasis on ALL should throw petals at Miss Nnaji’s feet. This movie takes the Igbo language to a whole new level of sexy. Utterly brilliant proper Igbo word play. Achebe would party in his grave at the use of proverbs. I might be wrong in saying that Igbo has made it to NETFLIX (we might have made our appearance a long time ago), all the same join me and say this in our delicious Igbo accent- “Nwa nna join me let us NE-TI-FI-LIX AN-DI CHI-LI.”
- Picture Quality: 100%. It wasn’t African Magic Epic (whose total brightness tells you it is just another home video), neither was it poorly lit, you know the way “top notch” producers and directors try to tone down the light to convince you that you are watching a cinema grade Nollywood movie. Like Goldilocks, it was just right…
- Story: You cannot fault the story line. Thank you to the acknowledged writers- Ishaya Bako, Emil B. Garuba, C.J Fiery Obasi, you guys did great. It wasn’t over the top like most so-called elite movies. It was Nigerian believable. I know many would struggle with the concept of hostile business take over still we don’t have to look too far before it sinks in that we can relate @ Access Bank swallowing Diamond Bank. The transportation business and its failings is something we breathe in daily @ ABC transport and other companies with BIG names but abysmal customer service. All Nigerians would love for LionHeart to become REAL.
- Themes: Female struggle in the male world—Thumbs up to bringing this issue to the big screen and thank you ever so kindly for not over flogging it.
Leaving work and telephones ringing for morning devotion— Thankfully this very disturbing trend would now be up for National debate and I hope we all would see the light. I stand with Adaeze Obiagu on this one. DO NOT PRAISE GOD ON WORK TIME. He is God, he gave you the job, you have a duty…If you love God so damn much wake at 3am and pray before leaving the house or if you are so particular about holding hands with colleagues, everyone should make a point to be at work at 7 am for prayers so that as soon as business opens you can get on with business. One stone, two birds- fellowship and punctuality. Praying during work hours is wrong and rude; sadly this is practiced even in hospitals. Everyone is religious; you cannot be pagan for refusing to pray at the office. The fact that your office might have Hindus, Muslims and traditional worshipers is a story for another day (imagine if they all set up altars). Is religion now a criterion for employment?
Love for Family is the Greatest: This right here gives you the awwwww feeling at the end of the movie. The love on display is too sweet for diabetics. Father-daughter, Brother-Brother, Uncle-Niece, FAMILY. It is so heartwarming that while we expected chaos from the start of the movie and its promotional trailer we received tranquil magic. Godswill did not poison Adaeze, Adaeze did not undermine Godswill. Abigail’s line “Never come between two brothers” is an epic that would be quoted decades from now.
- Depiction of Nigeria: This movie showed Nigeria plain as it is, without make up. It wasn’t make believe Nigeria as painted by those movies starring a certain Mr. Wellington. The scenery, the costume, the transport company, the agberos, Peace Mass Transit (thankfully shown without accompanying road accidents), Akanu Ibiam Airport, the police station and bail money, Cultural dance showcase, Phyno’s talent (Igbo kwenu) and our hatred for each other (Igbo and Hausa) are all 100% Naija.
- Comedy: Mr. Nkem Owoh remains the funniest comic actor out of Nollywood. He put in a grand performance that showed glimpses of his classics-UKWA, MY DESTINY and of course OSUOFIA. In my opinion his image should be the one splashed across the promotional cover (Don’t hold this against me, I DON’T LIKE GENEVIEVE). “Two pieces of Kashi” entered my blood.
- Casting: To round up the good, I would love to say an excruciating well done to Miss Nnaji for her performance, I hate to admit it, it was a good one, a great one even. To the rest of the amazing cast, you all did fantastic, I must add “as usual”; you cannot expect less from Pete Edochie, Onyeka Onwenu and co. Uncle Pete Edochie is the unrivalled proverb-spitting Nollywood Father figure, our own Earl Jones (There can be only one).
THE BAD: I have never made a movie in my life, I have acting experience but only at primary-secondary school dramatization level. It follows that I have no business critiquing movies, yet and still I have eyes and I have fingers to type what I see.
- Waste of Casting: Kanayo O. Kanayo, Ngozi Ezeonu, Zebrudaya Okoroigwe Nwogbo, Kalu Iweagwu. I fully understand the concept of cameos but I feel Miss Nnaji wouldn’t let me see my favourite actors SHINE on purpose as a personal vendetta for my hatred for her. I am especially pained for Kalu Iweagwu, that man should be lead in anything he is on.
- Attempt at comedy with External Auditors: “Central African Time.” What nonsense! The one blip in this movie. This scene was not funny, it was irritating. Kudos to madam auditor for going from Aki and Ukwa’s mad friend to appearance on what is now Nigerian’s leading movie.
- Bank Manager picks Adaeze as his price in the face of millions: Hell No!!! Wrong, wrong move, total hogwash. This is totally unbelievable. Ladies do really think sex is worth millions to a man. C’mon, I wouldn’t pass up millions for a night with— there I couldn’t even think of any female name to slot in there.
- Peter Okoye: Yahoo boy, YESU!!! Bad music, bad acting. Kindly stick to dance classes. Yes it is personal. How much we would have loved to see D’banj cast in that role, extra fall in love publicity, win-win for everybody.
- Pace: The movie’s selling point is tranquility and the ability to reach for our hearts still I would have loved a little bit of adrenaline rush. The movie came off as a Jim Carrey easy on the eye family flick, I’m not quite sure that’s a bad thing but hey I’m an ADRENALINE JUNKIE!
If you haven’t seen LIONHEART, HURRY NOW. You could do a smash and grab on Netflix like I did (register @ free one month with an empty account and cancel subscription after) or if your neighbourhood cinema still thinks it is worthwhile to show it then go there.
All Hail Queen Genevieve Nnaji!!!
PS: The Albino Community thanks you for casting one of us…Winks…
True artistry shall rise above mediocre!!!!!!