Following the Ibibio-set Ayamma is another costume drama set, this time, in a Yoruba community; King Invincible. The first 2017Nollywood film to show in the cinemas,King Invincible gives us a refreshing and unfamiliar story that kicks off the year well.
In this small village called Ayipada-oba is a King, Aderopo, who is strong and valiant. When the people of Atupa, a neighbouring village, steal from his kingdom, he doesn’t care that he is advanced in years, but goes out to war with his men, including his grandson Adetiba and a slave, Taari. Aderopo returns wounded, and his son, Adewale must rule in his stead. Because Taari was brave at war, saving the lives of his people, Adewale adopts him as his son, and gives him his daughter, Princess Morenike’s hand in marriage. Everything seems to be going well until greed and lust set in, and then there is a curse that puts Taari’s life in shambles and a quest for power that threatens to destroy Adetiba.
The opening scene welcomes you to something promising. The conversation seems very traditional but unforced, and it leaves you smiling, rubbing your palms together with glee at what is about to be a tasty feast. You are taken away from that to a different place for a while, and then you are returned to it, and the dots begin to connect till everything is made clear. King Invincible manages to be unpredictable, following a completely different route from what the audience would naturally expect.
The love between Morenike and Taari is one of the things that stand out in this film. It is pure and innocent and would plant excited butterflies in the pit of your stomach. Omowumi Dada as Morenike is graceful. She renders her character love struck and creates raw chemistry with equally impressive Tope Tedela, who plays Taari. There is a moment when they touch without looking, and both their eyes are closed but connected in such a way that melts your heart. Theirs is a love you not only see, but feel. It is a love you remember.
Bimbo Manuel is King Aderopo. Mike Abdul, who makes his film debut and remarkably too, is King Adewale. Gabriel Afolayan plays Adetiba, the prince. Jude Chukwuka gives an incredible interpretation of his role as Priest. Toyin Alausa plays a rather insignificant role as the queen. Peter Fatomilola plays Adeyemi, and Segun Dada plays Kolawole, his son. Every one of these actors gives stellar performances in their rights, and makes the entire film convincing.
However, Peter Fatomilola forgets his lines one too many times.
While one applauds the ingenuity of Femi Adisa’s story (which I hear was conceived about thirteen years ago), one is made to wonder at its disappointing and somewhat rushed resolution. There are no gaping plot holes that aren’t properly explained (well, perhaps the distance from Adeyemi’s home on the outskirts and the village itself is taken for granted on several occasions), but the expectations of the viewer is cut short, leaving him with a frown on his face when the credits roll. Perhaps this is because, while Oba Airi (who undoubtedly is God) is often regarded as loving, he is portrayed as vindictive and unforgiving. I think that, in a bid to make the movie unpredictable, Femi may have shot himself in the foot, passing a message that is the direct opposite of what was intended. Or perhaps it is the intended message alright: that Oba Airi does not forget. One is hardly sure.
Its faults notwithstanding, the film is a delight. It carries with it a faith-based undertone that isn’t shoved in your face, and can be enjoyed by all and sundry alike. The stunts coordinator(s) have done a fantastic job of making all the fight scenes utterly believable. And enjoyable. For the first time in a long (and I mean, really long time), I clap at the authenticity of the fights in a Nollywood movie.
King Invincible shines brightly story-wise and performance wise. It is entertaining (there is some over-stretched humour in there somewhere by Emmanuel Ilemobayo who is cast as the village drunk) as it is rich, its many eulogies and fitting cultural music splattered all over it. The costume and makeup is commendable, and so is its sound and picture quality. King Invincible is a good movie to begin the year with, and we can only hope that the coming movies keep up the momentum