The most-talked-about movie right now in Nigeria is Jagun Jagun (The Warrior) by Nollywood actor-producer Femi Adebayo. Read on to see my review of the movie, released Thursday, August 10, exclusively on Netflix.
Centered on betrayal, envy, struggle, love, and pain, Jagun Jagun tells the story of a courageous young man named Gbotija who has lost his beloved father to some group of invaders and resolves to avenge him by learning the ‘work of war’ under a notorious warlord called Ogundiji. The army Ogundiji commands is very gritty, and Ogundiji himself is a powerful fighting instrument used by influential men to destroy their antagonists.
Soon after Gbotija gets to Ogundiji’s camp, and joins his army, he meets the beautiful Kitan, and both of them fall in love. Gbotija is so brave and strong that he stands out in Ogundiji’s army in a short period of time. His fast-rising popularity piques the attention of his master, Ogundiji, who cannot stand an ‘ordinary soldier’ receiving praises under his watch.
Therefore, he puts Gbotija to a series of dangerous tests in order to get him killed, like facing Gbogunmi in a combat. It’s during the tests that his lover, Kitan, loses her life and he finds out Ogundiji is the one he has been seeking to take revenge on.
Femi Adebayo is changing the narratives about Nollywood, and turning it into an industry that Nigerians can be proud of and one that can compete with the best in the world. He has found a way to tell African stories, particularly Yoruba stories, in a way that resonates with the people—even those who are not of the culture.
His previous movie Agesinkole (King of Thieves) was such a great one that it seemed to people, including myself, that there wouldn’t be another Femi Adebayo’s movie greater than it. He himself was evidently aware of this burdensome esteem in which viewers held, and many still hold, Ageshinkole when, in his first social media post introducing Jagun Jagun, he stated: The dream was to surpass Agesinkole in every ramification. It almost seemed impossible because people kept asking ‘what else could be bigger than Ageshinkole’?
As a producer, Femi Adebayo is in his own league, on a different creativity level; and he, clearly, should not be compared! Don’t take this as meaning his works are perfect, without any flaws. No work of art, as the popular saying goes, is perfect. But, I must point out here, Jagun Jagun’s possible flaws are overshadowed by its storyline, educative, informing, entertaining, but also emotive; by its star-studded cast who masterfully protray their characters; and by its cinematography that’s nothing like I have seen in Nollywood before. If it is safe to say, Femi Adebayo has beaten his own record!
The script is fascinating; the story is straightforward, with great lessons taught; the acting is a master class, as expected of a movie with some of the best in the industry; the effect is virtuosic; and the stunts are top notch. This is a movie you want to see, I assure you.
I give it a 9/10 rating.
The Cast (Main Characters)
Femi Adebayo – Ogundiji
Lateef Adedimeji – Gbotija
Bukunmi Oluwashina – Kitan
Ibrahim Yekini Itele – Gbogunmi
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