By Hezekiah Akinrinde
,,,I am not a professional movie reviewer and I cannot recall if I have done up to 5 reviews here. Mostly, I watch and discuss my thoughts with my wife and a few friends informally.
,,,One of the things I admire about the arts is the ability of everyone with ears, eyes or the sense of touch to judge. The arts is to magnanimous that it allows even f00ls to air their opinion and they do not even have to be f00lish. Unlike the sciences where you work towards a predetermined outcome, the arts allows you the license to run freely and claim wherever you land is your outcome.
,,,,Jagun Jagun is a sweet beauty to the eyes and I am excited that it shows the ability to extract emotions from the viewer. Agemo’s dy.ing scene while in the hands of Gbotija and the duel between Gbotija and Gbogunmi stood out for me. I had the rush of emotions that should come with such developments.
,,,I love the generous use of costumes, the scenery of the location, and the crisp and clear image cum sound. Quite enjoyable was the exciting use of Yoruba anecdotes, proverbs and alliterations- a very fundamental beauty of the Yoruba Language (though I think it was overused in certain instances).
,,,The interplay of the metaphysical and natural strength was also brilliant. Introducing the character of Agemo, the masked demon-assassin, is a novel illustration of how warriors who have higher and deeper pacts with the extra-terrestial and celestial could summon agreements to gain an edge over their adversaries when the tide is again them.
,,,,I was also impressed with the clean bl00d-spilling, skin cutting tricks. It is a nice departure from the quack job of the past. Particularly, I love the mirage that coalesced into an image from the battlefield before Ogundiji, which compelled him to summon Agemo’s intervention. I had to go watch that scene again.
,,,,I love the way the movie presents the complications and complexities of love in the relationship between Gbotija and Gbogunmi on one hand, and Gbotija and Iroyinogunkiitan (Agemo) on the other hand.
,,,,How a villainous character like Gbogunmi, who from all indications is the de-facto 2iC to the super villain, Ogundiji, could defy his master’s order to invade his mother-in-law’s village speaks to how love conquers the dark desires of the vilest man. This is what set events that would lead to his eventual demise in motion.
,,,,,While in the amphitheatre, sparring with Gbotija, his adopted son, it is love that k!lls him and not the knife. Taking a deep look at the scene, while Gbotija summons the intervention of the wood out of which the handle of the knife Gbogunmi held was carved, it is the metal and not the wood that pierces Gbogunmi. The expression of shock on the face of Gbotija when Gbogunmi is struck and when he is on the ground shows it is the willing de@th of a villain in love with a protégé whom he cannot afford to kill. You will see proof in at least four occasions before that point where Gbogunmi has the chance to kill Gbotija but withdraws. It is not taunting. It is love complicating life for two worthy adversaries.
,,,,Agemo is a powerful masquerade but while we confirm it is controlled by Ogundihji, the vessel is Kiitan who is madly in love with Gbotija. When love comes in, even the spirit is weakened. History is replete with millions of instances of otherwise powerful folks that love pulled down. It is not the tree branch that kills Agemo. It is the love that hesitates when it comes face to face with the one it worships. Else, Agemo takes out Gbotija in the twinkling of an eye.
,,,,It is the hope that k!lls. Scratch that. It is the love that k!lls. Love is a beautiful burden that complicates the ease of life.
,,,,The introduction of Ibrahim Chatta at the end! What a way to keep your audience asking for more. Fem Adebayo just subtly committed himself to a sequel. Now, he cannot escape it.
,,,,There is NO perfect work of art anywhere. In fact, its imperfection is what makes it an art. Hence, the movie has got a number of negatives that must be checked WHEN (not if) the sequel is ready.
,,,,The frequent twitching of head by Ogundiji is needless and an overkill. The locked, dirty beard does nothing to make the character more fearsome. We have seen more terrible characters less dirty.
,,,,The cast was too crowded with superstars that many of them had redundant roles that could be taken by lesser known actors that this movie would have given an opportunity to make a big announcement of themselves on the scene. I understand the business side of the initiative but I think this was an opportunity lost to blood new talents.
,,,,The development of the story is quite tacky at some point that you may wonder if a better job could not be done. Generally, it is fine but it could be far better if the same efforts that went into aesthetics had gone into story/plot development.
,,,,I am not sure about the Oriental/Western-styled choreographed sword moves and fight. It is not Yorubaish. Historically, our warriors wrestle, shoot arrows and to a large extent engage machetes at the war front. I could excuse the use of guns if I am to infer from Ogundiji’s conversation with Gbogunmi at the scene where we first see the later that the new weapons supplied by the Whites are guns. He actually said “I have reserved three for you but I will teach you how to use them”. The only conflict I have here is the fact that in the scene before, I think I saw warriors with guns on the battlefield. Perhaps, some of Ogundiji’s serving warriors had access to them before Gbogunmi knew of their existence.
,,,,I have written about the excessive use of alliterations earlier.
,,,,,I hope Ibrahim Chatta does not continue with the sniffing thing he seemed to show off in the sequel WHEN it is released. That would be a disaster to what should be an exceptionally brilliant character.
,,,As with a standard Yoruba movie, Jagun Jagun is rich in didactics. There are both subtle and open lessons for social well-being.
,,,,I reckon the movie is presented like an epic. But I dare say it is not an epic and it is on this basis that I forgive its many flaws, lest, I could be less generous in my commendations.
,,,,Jagun Jagun is a socio-political commentary, mirroring the African (Nigerian) reality.
,,,Ogundiji is a politician and a political system.
,,,,He is ruthless, devoid of empathy and full of dark emotions. He invades a town, sacks its inhabitants, crushes its system of governance and imposes a king, who is his vassal, on it. He runs a warrior academy, identifying smart talents and grooms them in the art of war, not with the mind of setting them free to become deliverers, but that they may be a willing tool in his hands to perpetuate his enterprise and expand his empire. Ogundiji does not develop anyone or spare a soul for the general good. It is about what benefits Ogunjimi in the end. Just think about how he discovers young Kiitan and what he makes of her eventually.
,,,,If he had not died in the end, I am certain he would aspire to be king and overlord over all the lands he had conquered with their kings officially becoming “kinglets” (imagine piglets) under him.
,,,,It would simply be a case of “I have served you all enough. I also want to be President (sorry, king)”.
,,,,The passing reference to “awon Oyinbo ti ko awon irin ise tuntun kan wa fun wa” (the Whites have brought us some new weapons) by Ogundiji while speaking with Gbogunmi is an indictment on the complicity of the West in the many intra-tribal and national wars plaguing Africa (read Nigeria). As Ogundiji explains, they send the weapons in appreciation of what he is doing.
,,,,,Clearly, there is a higher interest that benefits from Ogundiji’s wars beyond him. While he is allowed to decide who takes what in terms of political leadership in the conquered lands, his masters (the West) who supply him weapons and ammunitions corner their benefits in having unrestricted access to pillage the resources of these blessed lands for their own good and the preservation of their citizens who are shielded from the relentless blood-letting.
,,,,,It is the reality of what plays out today. The West finances fratricidal wars in Africa, installs and supports tyranny, looks away from electoral fraud when it serves their interests and watches Africa burn to light their own streets.
,,,,,Ogundiji dies in the end but do not be shocked if he resurrects in the sequel or Ibrahim Chatta becomes the new Lord of the Manor.
You ask me why? Because evil never truly dies except there are more Gbotijas who never forgive vileness but will cut it down no matter where it is and how long it has existed.
,,,,,Did I tell you to be careful with offending women especially those who know your limitations? Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Ogundiji learnt that the hard way.
,,,,,My rating? 8/10 and this is largely due to the subtle way a political malady is expertly portrayed.
,,,,You can disagree with me but remember, this is the arts where every viewer has a meaning they find in the work.
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