I know that many may not like my stance on this movie, Merry Men 2. This is probably because of our people’s tendency to deify those who have made it to the limelight and in other words, blow their acts out of proportion. The truth remains that there was absolutely nothing impressive about this project Merry Men 2; a movie that sought to adapt the Hollywood espionage hero/heroine movie, Fast and Furious, after the supposed success of Merry Men 1.
I do not care how much was expended making this movie, I insist that the movie is as bland as bland can be. From the fake accents to the poor acting, one could practically smell the reek of mediocrity oozing from this work as can be found in any work of art that lacks originality.
For a movie that is made in Nigeria for Nigerians, there was nothing about the story, the narrative or the characters that any Nigerian viewing the movie both at home and in diaspora can relate to. Here are a group of party freaks showing off their flashy cars and binge drinking lifestyle with a touch of poorly directed action scenes and of course, dry jokes from washed out comedians. Come on, now, Nollywood has long gone beyond that standard, Old Gee Ramsey, Jim Iyke and AY.
Seeing Merry Men 2 was like watching a documentary of badly behaved money-miss-road group of friends playing with a candid camera. Hollywood’s Rush Hour of 1998 remains way more entertaining and thrilling and real than this joke of a movie. In Rush Hour, you could feel Jackie Chan being a Chinese through a through and Chris Tucker giving off that African American vibe like no man’s business. Yet I found it so difficult to connect to the supposed ‘Yoruba Demon’ vibe from Ramsey Nouah. I could not place Jim Iyke’s character as he was not bringing any other thing to the table aside arrogance and stern looks. There was nothing about Uchemba Williams that gave off that Tech nerd character he was trying to play and beside his funny slurring manner of speaking, Falz was almost invisible in the movie. I am sure that if it was not that AY might have bankrolled the production, he was not fit for the character he played at all.
I found it difficult to rap my mind around the intent behind this movie. What culture it was trying to project or what agenda it was trying to promote. Or even whose interest it was trying to protect. I could understand Hollywood’s tendency to make war hero movies as they thrive in weapon making and warmongering as a nation. This was why it was difficult for me relating to how a criminal turned good guy turned bad guy narrative in Nollywood was projecting the Nigerian dream.
It was obvious the makers of this movie, Merry Men 2, were blindsided by their intent to just entertain without any intentionality at making a cogent point or driving an agenda. What a waste of resources. I am not a party to the idea that all works of art should be appreciated for its own sake without trying to find meaning to it. This is why I would never call a splash of paint on canvass as art no matter how much the western world seeks to shove this absurdity down our throats. This is also why I consider Merry Men 2 a splash of costly paint on even costlier canvass.
There is a need for Nollywood movie makers to learn intentionality in movie production. You cannot continue mimicking Hollywood at everything without catching the jerk; that there is supposed to be a message in every movie you make. It is not enough to throw money about in the name of movie production. You also need to dig deep into the bag of creativity to serve original and authentic content to members of the public. It is not enough to throw 181 million Naira into a movie just to get it on Netflix and at the end of the day, all you served the public is junk with zero nutritional value.
I hate to be so harsh in my description of this movie but indeed, Nollywood has come of age now that, looking back at this 2019 movie, Merry Men 2, I think there is a need to slap big entertainment investors like Ayo Makun (AY) back into the reality that they seem blinded from as a result of the limelight shining on them.
Merry Men 2 is a movie about four friends who had turned their life around from being celebrated criminals but were lured back when one of their former criminal friend forced herself into their retirement life. It was an attempt at mimicking Fast and Furious. And what a poor attempt it was. I give it to Film One for the great cinematography. The action scenes left much to be desired. The story line was just there and the conversational lines sucked, to say the least. In all, it was a real struggle to see the movie to an end and I do not look forward to seeing the movie again.