KING OF BOYS REVIEW
By Morris Abdul Newton
Dir: Kemi Adetiba
Starring: Sola Sobowale, Remilekun “Reminisce” Safaru, Adesua Etomi, Jide Kosoko, Tobechukwu “illbliss” Ejiofor, Toni Tones, Sharon Ooja, Akin Lewis.
Shall we start with an “owambe” please? Let’s be MERRY, afterall it’s not a WEDDING. We and parties though. I bet it’s in our constitution.
“King of boys” is Kemi Adetiba’s sophomore effort in her ongoing attempt at world domination. She took a big leap from directing music videos to movies when she directed “The Wedding party” in 2016 which has seen her thirst for movies rise and this new effort did come with its own brilliance. However, this film has its shortcomings which were essentially ingrained in the fact that Kemi is a rookie film writer and director as it showed.
Alhaja Eniola Salami (Sola Sobowale) is a businesswoman and philanthropist with a checkered past and a promising political future. She is a pillar of society – loved by many, feared by most, and truly known by a select few. As her political ambitions see her outgrowing the underworld connections responsible for her considerable wealth, she’s drawn into a power struggle that threatens everything she holds dear.
Unlike her debut in film directing, a lot in this new offering is not so hinged on fanfare and this is one of the reasons “King of boys” is good. It has that simple touch to things that were meant to be complicated. An example is the ‘steal’ orchestrated by Akorede Makanaki (Reminisce) and Odogwu (Illbliss). It was effortlessly done and good to watch. So were quite a number of other scenes in this piece.
Undeniably, some of the lines in the dialogue were cheesy at best. Even the biggest lines seemed to fall flat because they weren’t properly crafted to hit home. Then we had too many proverbs. There’s a thin line between nicely littering and annoyingly smearing. The deployment of the proverbs in conversation slightly crossed that line.
Reminisce and Illbliss did a very good job at playing their respective gangster characters. I actually see what Kemi did with characters and ethnicity and it was nice to watch especially when the men brought it in like proper actors. It’s almost funny how these rappers came through as much better than a lot of the ones that claim to be the actual practitioners in the industry. It will be nice to see them do something other than gangsters. Then we shall complete their evaluation.
Sola Sobowale was very good and most of the other actors did well as well, but for the occasional lull… cue in Nurudeen Gobir (Paul Sambo). Talking about Gobir, there was really no establishment why this man was as “straight as a ruler.” Officers like this usually have something driving them; A family line of pristine Police officers, something that happened to them while growing up etc. But there was none of that. This was a flaw with character crafting.
Also, there was no TRUE indication that the man loved his wife which was pivotal to the story. I suppose this problem could have been taking care of by one emotional scene in their past as that way we would feel it more with him if something happened to her. The consequence of Nurudeen Gobir not been fully formed is that no real emotion was felt when he experienced loss.
The Original gangster soundtrack by Sess, Reminisce and Adekunle Gold is a monster song and fitted right into the theme of the film. The other soundtracks deployed were well deployed and then save for one or two glitches, Sound was pristine. The cinematography was also quite good plus the deployment of a unique transition technique. I must admit it was confusing for some. Albeit, unique.
Kemi (Adesua Etomi) and Kitan (Ademola Adedoyin) registered well as siblings and their difference was well done drawing us to what we saw later on in the film. Kitan’s relationship with Amaka (Sharon Ooja) jumped too fast. I’ll say it again, the proper establishment of characters in films are very important to deepen stories. We only get one chance.
The flashbacks sometimes looked or sounded funny. For instance, there is a scene where the little Eniola is being consoled and taught to say “My name is Eniola.” It all sounded like a nursery rhyme procession. Generally, though, the flashbacks still worked nicely.
Toni Tones did a fair job on playing a Younger version of Sola Sobowale’s Eniola but there was some sort of disconnect/inconsistencies between both characters as the Younger Eniola seemed more English language inclined. Her Yoruba wasn’t as fluent considering that this character was the one that couldn’t speak an iota of English language growing up. But Toni gets a pass mark for posing strong on character.
Eniola (Sola Sobowale) never really looked that strong as a gangster. We could excuse that to the fact that things were beginning to go awry for her as we entered the film. That singular fact probably wouldn’t have mattered much if she had once mentioned that she wanted to quit the game. Then again, her political ambition was probably making her street soft…. Makanaki agrees with me.
The reveal scene between Gobir and his boss towards the end lasted too long. This is an issue with quite a number of scenes in “King of boys.” The film should have been shorter, really.
Then whilst that scene roared on, Makanaki should have been revealed later and not as early as he was. It mattered in the overall scheme of things. The time sequence didn’t mix well.
The Eniola rescue scene was also quite improbable considering the amount of time that had elapsed before. The smoke really would have killed her… infact both of them.
I don’t understand how Eniola got to sort out Makanaki out of the blues. That is not true to how these things work. There was no buildup; no plausible angle that we could say she exploited. The woman had given up a moment earlier. We mustn’t in the bid to surprise the audience or end with a bang, throw away the elements of filmmaking.
I don’t see why it took forever to get the film ready to view despite the fact that it was still almost three hours. A testimony to why I felt a more experienced screenwriter, director or even editor could have shortened and tightened the movie and made it still as watchable.
“King of boys” is undoubtedly one of the two best movies the industry has delivered at the cinemas this year (2018) and has a good chance of doing fairly well at the box office, thanks to the enormous amount of goodwill that it will enjoy from people who have endured such a bad year at the cinemas.
There is no doubt that Kemi would do more great things. She will need to pay more attention to some of the more intricate details of filmmaking.
You really should go see “King of boys.” Exciting stuff.