Movie review: Kemi Adetiba bosses Nollywood with King of Boys

Sola Sobowale King of Boys by Kemi Adetiba

By Femi Idowu @babadudu19

Kemi Adetiba’s highly anticipated King of Boys tells the story of Alhaja Eniola Salami (played by Sola Sobowale), a businesswoman with eyes on the political scene and an ignoble foray into the underworld who gets involved in a fatal power struggle. It is a political thriller that tries to depict the dirty shenanigans in the Nigerian political climate and a woman’s quest for political power at the expense of her dark side. This it tries to do in three hours.

Coming on the heels of her last movie, The Wedding Party, Adetiba is saddled with the onerous task of delivering another hit and it seems she has been able to do just that going by the three records set within the first fortnight.

Already, the movie has scored big by having the biggest opening weekend for a non-comedy Nollywood movie; second highest opening week for a Nollywood movie in 2018 and the second highest opening by a female director. Whether all these numbers translate into a good job is a question best answered by the average viewer.

The movie opens with good aerial shots of the Lagos nocturnal skyline. The sound is well edited as the movie switches between the music at the opening party scene to the dialogues. The viewer gets an early taste of what is to come from the lead actress. She effortlessly switches from the buoyant party mood to daredevilry. She gets blood on her hands then goes out to party the next minute.

What more can be said of Sola Sobowale in the Nigerian movie scene? She has attained such lofty standards that even on her bad hair day she manages to pull through. She delivers another acting masterpiece in this movie but much credit should go to the director who successfully extracts every piece of acting skill from the lead actress who deftly strikes a balance in her life across family, politics and the control of the underworld.

Perhaps the most poignant scene in the movie features Adesua Etomi and Sola Sobowale when the former appears to the latter in a trance after a fatal shooting in a court premises. Such scenes are difficult to pull off and only a few directors ever get it right. A similar scene that readily comes to mind is the one in Roti (Kate Henshaw and Kunle Afolayan).

Nollywood is yet to do away with an all-star cast and King of Boys suffers this fate. It goes without saying that not all roles should be played by the established actors in order to discover more talent in the industry. In this movie, just a handful of the cast bothers to deliver an unforgettable performance. Kudos must be given to award-winning rapper Reminisce (Makanaki) whose cool depiction of Alhaja Salami’s underboss will always get the viewer on the edge of their seat.

King of Boys definitely should have been better edited to reduce the time. The three-hour story definitely left many viewers fiddling with their phones in the movie hall as their attention span waned. A movie that long needs a near perfect screenplay but it missed the mark in that aspect.

The plots and sub-plots must have been difficult to put together in three hours and the movie was at the risk of an anti-climactic end. Kemi Adetiba, however, manages to wrap it all up and from the reaction of the viewers at the climax of the movie, she did not do a bad job.