KNOCKOUT BLESSING MOVIE REVIEW
By Morris Abdul Newton
Dir: Dare Olaitan
Starring: Ade Laoye, Linda Ejiofor, Meg Otanwa, Ademola Adedoyin, Buchi Franklin, Charles Etubiebi, Gbenga Titiloye, Alvin Abayomi, Tony Akposeri.
When Dare Olaitan wrote and Directed “Ojukokoro” way back when one thing that was evident was the style. It was different in the Nollywood circuit but we knew where it came from. Quentin Tarantino influences the young man’s craft. Dare returns now with “Knockout Blessing” and it doesn’t deviate from his Quentin fascination as he employs, yet again, the ‘chapter’ style.
“Knockout Blessing” is a fascinating tale about a girl named Blessing who is versed in the art and sport of boxing, haven being taught by her father. She tries to use it as a means to achieve her dream and escape poverty. After the unfortunate demise of her father which she is partially responsible for, she becomes a fugitive and teams up with two other girls as they embark on an adventure to survive, which takes them down a path that leads into the criminal underworld, and finally face to face with the underbelly of the Nigerian political system. (Watch the trailer here)
I give it to Dare. From what we have seen, he’s quite good with titling and using metaphors. The above story description also sounds like a good story for which some actors turned up. Ade Laoye, Buchi Franklin and Ademola Adedoyin were some of the actors that clearly turned up for the party. It’s a fact that Ade Laoye is a brilliant actor but it is evident that every actor needs a good director. Not saying Dare is a bad director, but some actors are quite bad and need… well… good directors, otherwise they are better off our screens. Probably, the real question should be; why cast bad actors in the first place? Anyway, some of the supporting actors in this film are quite bad.
That said, a number of directions in “Knockout Blessing” are bad as well. Then again, this is evident mostly because the reactions of some of the actors to very important actions are actually bad. Stuff that will make you wonder if they really did have a director on set to take care of acting matters. It still seems there is a dearth of actor-directors in the country.
Despite being a good story, the concept, execution made a good portion of this film hard to watch. A lot concerning the supposed crime for which Blessing was being hounded about town was just more of a reach than a seamless flow. The flip flop nature of the story as it is told unsettled a lot especially as we progressed further into the film.
Now let’s talk “Charlie’s Angels” and “Black Mirror.” It’s true that concepts from these foreign pieces were taken to form parts of “Knockout Blessing” and that’s not a sin. What is a problem would be how it is used. Of course, it’s a known fact that you can “steal” but it is a problem when you steal and don’t use to the satisfaction of the knowledgeable viewer. All those ‘Dagogo Angels’ and ‘Political aspirant making love to an animal’ thing didn’t look so good in the long run owing to bad execution. In fact, those portions really did hurt.
One of the schemes the girls perpetrated under Dagogo where they took important men from a particular spot to another and knocked them out was contrived. The girls kept getting men from the same place and none of them at any point after sprung up after falling victim to quickly investigate. That just wasn’t it. Especially with the kind of influence these men wielded. It all felt far-fetched.
For technicalities, make-up was faulty. I don’t understand what those mark on Yomi’s face were? Yomi (Tope Tedela) looked hideous as what we were supposed to believe was on his face were tribal marks but it simply looked lackadaisically drawn on his face. The cinematography was solid and so was sound for most of the film. There wasn’t so much of a score, so there’s no need delving into that.
Blessing’s knockout punches through the movie were dashing but quite predictable. Her career and quest to enter and win a major tournament was her goal but she seemed to lose her way as her goals began to play second fiddle. What should have sufficed is the character trying to get back on track, but that didn’t happen… It all got lost in the mire of translation and the adoption of a quest that isn’t hers later on.
And then those voice overs at the tail end of the film. If there was such a thing as “death by speaking,” that would have been it. That scene really sums up the lackluster nature of “Knockout Blessing.” I would hope there is no second part, although I think my hope might simply just be for the wind because the ending of the film suggests there will be. I figured from the end that the filmmaker is probably not ready to visit the actual end he has in mind, i.e. a boxing competition probably because he doesn’t have the tools to execute it just yet.
I really wish “Knockout Blessing” was a good film but it turns out, it wasn’t much of an improvement on Ojukokoro or probably didn’t even touch it with a pole.
Read Also: Ojukokoro’s film editing was inadequate