22 September 2023
Inside Nollywood Rating
Editi Effiong goofed at this one. Despite the obviously elaborate budget made on the film, The Black Book left a sour taste on my movie viewing palate. There were a lot of loose ends. Great pictures, great sound tracks, great acting but very poor scripting. I maintain that Nigerians still have a lot to learn in putting together action movies, especially those that involve modern weapons and fighting style. From the first scene that featured Sam Dede’s character leading a crime operation to the scenes that showed Richard Mofe Damijo’s character defying attempts to get him down, none was convincing enough like Hollywood action movies. Richard Mofe-Damijo’s character could not show any sign that he had been a trained combatant. His reflexes were so slow and even his build left much to be desired. In fact, I am sure if any of the James Bond actors sees the movie, he would be highly disappointed. Nollywood seems to take it for granted that known screen faces also need to go through thorough preparation which could include training for certain roles. RMD was not properly prepared for the role he played in The Black Book and no amount of video editing could conceal it.
The movie is about a former henchman turned repentant deacon whose son was unlucky to fall into the hands of some corrupt policemen who were looking for a scapegoat to frame for a crime involving some top politicians and a politician’s son. The deacon’s son got killed and his father is forced to reactivate his old life as a trigger happy man, as well as his old friends in that line of business, to redeem his son’s name and stop the corrupt politician who happened to be his former employer. He goes to the police station to recover the corpse of his son and he falls out with the police too. Meanwhile, a young female journalist is having troubles at her workplace getting her editor to publish her investigative reports on some nefarious activities in the country. She is reminded that it was reports that got her mother killed and encouraged to stay away from investigating such issues further. It turns out the editor is also in The General’s pay roll just like the top police officers.
The young journalist obstinately continues her dig into the Oil Minister’s husband and baby’s deaths as well as the extrajudicial killing of Paul Edima’s son and in course of the dig, she comes into contact with Paul. As the movie progresses, it is revealed that the girl journalist was the same girl child he had killed her mother and saved against the dictates of his former boss. He is forced to collaborate with Big Daddy ( a female street boss) to bring down General Issa’s empire.
The movie started with a carefully plotted ambush on a police guarded vehicle on a busy road which had the SAKS section of the police on stop and search collaborate with some criminal elements to kidnap the husband and baby of the Minister for Oil. One of the loose ends the script writer left, who was trying to adapt some Hollywood movie to the Nigerian setting, was the explanation made as to why the RMD character, Paul Edima, was not killed when he refused to kill the child of a journalist he had been sent to assassinate for investigating the activities of the corrupt politician, The General Issa (played by Alex Usifo). It just did not add up to me why he was not shot dead immediately,alongside the girl child given the corrupt politician was painted as someone who was powerful enough to cover up any crime, especially after he disclosed he had a book where he documented all the crimes of the politician.
Inasmuch as there were attempts to expose the corruption in the Nigerian political system as well as in the policing system, the movie’s story line reeked of mediocrity and weak story flow.
How the bone of contention moved from a black book to a safe and from oil to mining showed how confused the writers must have been as they struggled to bring the movie to a satisfookactory end. While attempts where made to apply all the rules in the book of scriptwriting, there were still reasons to believe that if not for the quality of actors used, the story would have come out even worse than it did.