When it comes to ingenuity of a world class standard in making movies with native stories and languages, I give it to the Yoruba movie producers. A true testament to the meteoric rise of Yoruba movies from the days of the TV series, Jagwa, is this movie, Jagun Jagun.
What a masterful adaptation of Spartacus. It was like Wole Soyinka’s The Gods are not to blame. You know you are watching an adaptation of a foreign story, yet you feel its uncanny originality to your bones.
It is a story about the intoxication of absolute power, the power of the female force and the power of love. It is a story so richly garnished with Yoruba idiomatic expressions; the power of words and will in determining one’s realities and the great graphic effects. My only disappointment was the action scenes.
The action scenes formed an integral part of the action-packed film. Yet, the directing of the scenes was so pedestrian to say the least and made nonsense of the sheer creativity in the dialogues. The action scene director should be bitch-slapped for doing such an elementary job in a movie meant for Netflix. The action scenes of Chinese films of the 1960s look more professional than what I saw in Jagun Jagun.
But, as a whole, it is a great movie, studded with the greatest screen faces of present day Yoruba entertainment world. I was expecting the You-are-doing-well comedy skit star, Mr Macaroni to have gotten more scenes that he did. But then I thought, maybe he was being done a favour as more scenes for him might have made it more glaring that he is really not a trained actor but someone with a good sense of humor and a patriotic heart.
I must commend Femi Adebayo for bringing the Ogundiji character to life complete with his entire menacing and evil demeanor. A fine actor that is, the Ogundiji character was done justice to and he controlled the tempo of the movie from start to finish.
Bukunmi Olauwashina who played the role of Kitan made an awesome debut screen appearance for me. She carried her role like a pro and drew me into the personality and struggles of her character.
Fathia Balogun-Williams is a regular screen face for me. A great actress, she played the role of Erinfuton, Ogundiji’s wife, who sacrificed her womb to make her husband great but was betrayed by her husband who sired a child by another woman behind her back. She was the feminine force that made and still destroyed Ogundiji.
The character I enjoyed watching the most in Jagun Jagun was Gbotija, played by the charismatic Lateef Adedimeji. Gbotija, the one from the lineage that can control the energy in trees and plants. His use of words to draw the mystical powers of the trees sent chills through me. His love scenes with Kitan melted my heart and got me romanticizing and I could feel his pains when Kitan fell by his hands.
I recommend Femi Adebayo makes a sequel of the movie as we would like to watch the full story of each of those kingdoms that were highlighted in the movie as well as the various festivals.
We need more movies like this that would tel the stories we used hear at the village square under the moonlight and I pray our Igbo actors borrow a leaf from the Yorubas and start making more movies that would integrate their culture and language and metaphysics.
Save for the average fight scenes, this Netflix original film, Jagun Jagun is a 4/5 for me and is worth the watch and rewatch.