The Review: Lionheart

Lionheart attempts to pass itself as an intriguing family drama but at this it ends up being insipid at best, attempting to fraud its way through with a couple of music stars and their first stint at film, alongside Nollywood icons who were nothing but a shadow of the image they have cut themselves in the industry. The film spends 94 minutes of its running time reaching for meaning and purposes while painfully missing it.

This is what I honestly think of Lionheart, a movie by our dearly beloved Genevieve Nnaji.

Without sugarcoating it, Lionheart is a bad movie.

In the history of villains villianing, there is nothing as terrible as Kanayo O. Kanayo attempting a piss poor take over of a rivals company. I thought I was tired of him as a money-hungry-would-sell-his-mother-for-money ritualist, but I’ll take that over this KOK character where the best worst thing he did in the movie was to offer his condolences to his rival, who was only sick, but whom he clearly wished dead.

Nkem Owoh is funny. In Lionheart, I waited endlessly for the funny but it would not come out (unless I missed it in Igbo). It was like Hulk in Avengers Infinity Wars all over again. Credit to his character for punching the bank manager who asked for his niece in exchange for a loan and for covering his niece’s cleavage from the perverted loan officer who wouldn’t stop staring.

Movies should be made with consultations and research of actual professionals. Want to shoot a medical scene? Consult a doctor, or nurse or hospital administrator; want to shoot a court scene? Speak to lawyers and maybe a judge, bailiffs, spend a day in the magistrate court and observe proceedings; Want to make a movie on the premise of a failing family business? Then maybe you should talk to a banker, an investment consultant, risk analyst, business developer, because why is a bank coming after a 950 million Naira loan after 1 year? And why not take over the collateral used in securing the loan, and how was a loan of 950 million obtained without the board of directors aware and involved in the first place?

Why are external auditors, in 2018, presenting a report with mouth nitori olohun?

Lionheart has holes. Yes, like a colander, and it is inexcusable.

You don’t spend 30 years in the industry, study at the New York Film Academy and end up making a movie only unforgettable because of how angry one is that for spending time watching it at all.

Lionheart is like Nigeria, you’re excited for it and by it for solely sentimental and patriotic reasons, its cast has potential and a few surprises, but then it ends up leaving a taste in your mouth and feeling that can only be washed off with abroad weather and hope in a better afterlife.

The opening scene had no bearing on the rest of the movie; a scowling Kalu Ikeagwu with a demeanor like he was going to turn things on its head if left unsupervised, had no game, street smarts, or acumen of any type to actually be a Judas and Iscariot well.

Like Nigeria, Lionheart had moments that made you giddy with excitement, or as they said ‘bursts my brain’. The scene with Phyno in the studio, as well as Maikano and Obiagu conversing in Hausa,  are some of such moments. Everything else was like waiting for a crescendo, a spark of a brilliant idea, a sinister plot to unfold, but no, there was to be no protagonist losing their way, no African/Nigerian/Igbo philosophy that guides them back, no sidekick that could actually sidekick, and no maroon between a praise and worship leading Nigerian MD and a typical Nigerian uncle whose way of complimenting you for having grown up beautifully is to suggest you contest at a beauty pageant.

It’s okay if you like, even love Lionheart. But it could have been so much more, by a thousand miles, and seeing it, made me wonder if this is the kind of storytelling we really want to show the rest of the world as one of Nigeria’s finest products.

Caleb Maiye

Political Scientist. Entrepreneur. Writer. I write because words and people are the things I understand best.

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