By Morris Abdul Newton

Dir: Ramsey Nouah

Starring: Stan Nze, Osas Ighodaro, Bucci Franklin, Efa Iwara, Odera Adimorah, Emeka Nwagbaraocha, Nobert Young, Brutus Richards, Tobi Bakre, Chiwetalu Agu, Chinyere Wilfred, Cassandra Odita, Gloria Young, Ejike Asiegbu, Sunny Mcdon W, Fred Amata, Ramsey Nouah, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde – 145minutes

First off, this is not a sequel, it’s a remake. As such, new ideas and the creative freedom to deviate from the original film were available. However, this is tricky as the filmmakers already had the audience’s nostalgia working against them. I bet the producers, Play Network, must have considered this aspect of the play as it was clear that this was a monstrous project that needed maximum attention, considering its antecedent and budget.

So, yes, as far as the creative freedom was available, Rattlesnake should have turned out solid, totally worth seeing and refreshing. But is that what it was?

‘Rattesnake: The Ahanna Story’ tells the story of Ahanna; a young boy, abandoned by his mother for years after the death of his father. He grows up and becomes the leader of a notorious band of thieves (The Armadas) after he discovers the atrocious acts of his mother that preceded his father’s death. Watch trailer here

‘Rattlesnake’ arrives after the inspiring success of Play Network’s 2019’s ‘Living in Bondage: Breaking free,’ a sequel to the classic ‘Living in Bondage’ of the early 90s.

It is commendable how again, like in ‘Living in bondage: Breaking free’, veteran actors were brought in to mix with the new generation guns. One in particular I liked was Sunny Mcdon W reprising his role as Ahanna’s father. He’s the only surviving act from the original Rattlesnake movie written and directed by the Legendary Amaka Igwe in 1995.That’s almost as far as my likes go actually.

Now, how the titular character, Ahanna (Stan Nze), is so devoid of proper character development still irks me. While at the cinema, I kept wondering how it is that Ahanna had no weakness whatsoever. This in itself played a huge role in undermining what this film is about in its entirety. This fault is primarily laid at the feet at the screenwriter, Nicole Asinugo and by extension, the Director, Ramsey Nouah. Nicole previously penned 2019’s Living in bondage alongside C.J .Fiery. The characters in this Rattlesnake were so bland that puking was the only option for viewers. As much Nze (Bucci Franklin) was mad, there was no method to his madness. He was just crazy for crazy sake. That is no character.

The lack of character development also led us to wonder why all these guys got together to steal. It just seemed like they just wanted to. Even Ahanna could have done better after his Grandma appeared to him in that trance. The only person that really had a reason to go into this crime was Egbe (Odera Adimorah) and this is because his character exposition was done.

While the movie addresses some societal issues which could easily have framed the characters properly, still none of them were followed through to metamorphose into something dynamic on screen.

There were plot holes and story issues that obviously emanated from scripting. The members of the Armadas didn’t have special skills that managed to be utilized in any of their robberies, heists or whatever they were into. They didn’t do anything spectacular either. Just basic stealing. Nothing we’ve never seen before. Anyone, and I mean anyone could have pulled off those robberies without issues.

The film also had progression issues – for instance, Nze was too erratic and came at Ahanna way too early, drugs in his system or not. It didn’t make much sense especially when we see where they were coming from as “friends/brothers.”

How did they go from having a major fight where Nze blatantly derided and exposed Ahanna to the team for killing his mother (which was a secret) to the vacation in the very next scene without resolving that matter. Nah. Makes no sense. They made it look like the movie was so much in a hurry to get things done instead of putting in the works to make sense. This is probably why quite a number of things weren’t clear in the film as well. Amara (Osas Ighodaro) wasn’t available for the Armadas’ final heist before they got busted and there wasn’t even any explanation as to why. That’s suspect storytelling.

While the main cast did their best to lift the movie, some of the other cast and performances didn’t work for me, Fred Amata’s scene came off as an unconvincing one-take. Gloria Young simply didn’t deliver as the police boss. Everything about her looked awkward on screen. Brutus Richards as ‘Smoke’ dwelt in so much monotony that it hurt an eye.

Yes, on this Brutus’ Smoke character too. Why was Smoke always kissing his teeth as if he was the one referred to as ‘Snake’ in the movie? Ahanna who is nicknamed Snake never made that sound and it would have been befitting if he was the one doing that. Also, how did Smoke end up being shot in the face at point blank range by Tobi Bakre’s character and still shows up looking all good and dandy with just a scratch years later? Loads of questions and that is just one character.

Cinematography was good for most of the time, but suffered greatly at some other times. There were instances of issues with focus pulling which inadvertently delivered blurry pictures. Sound was okay, but editing was a nightmare. For such a huge movie, it was substantially poor.

The one piece of technicality that the Armadas team managed still looked contrived like a play on the audience’s intelligence. I never quite understood how Timi Philips (Ayo Makun) stood right in front of Amara while she was swapping his phone with another. I mean, she was right in front of him with his phone behind her. What was that?

Let’s not even dwell on the terrible Product placement littered about the movie. That Ali Mammoud (Norbert Young) scene where he made reference to the low sugar in a malt drink takes the cake here.

The Living in Bondage Crossover scene where Richard William shows up tells us that these stories exist in the same universe and I don’t even know if it’s something I want to see but we’ll see how that goes.

Nengi Hampson made a brief appearance in a waste of a scene (atleast in this movie). It was more for commercial purposes and added nothing to the movie. It reminds me of that Kunle Afolayan appearance in Citation. Once you make a strong dialogue/exposition as regards a character, use it or yank it off your film.

Then there was the scanty crowd at the end of the movie. This was probably the biggest eyesore in the movie. For a production as huge as this and one bordering on the heist nature, that was the worst possible thing that could have happened. Then there was the part where the Police opened fire on Nze in broad daylight and right where the crowd was and the crowd didn’t disperse or act like anything happened. To make matters worse, we were given an aerial view of this travesty. I rest my case.

Rattlesnake had such potentials that sadly weren’t met. So much more could have been done with this movie that never saw the light of day. Just makes me feel like it should never have been made and was a far cry from the awesomeness we obtained from the original Rattlesnake movie of 25 years ago.

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