Friday, 16 April 2021

Nobody (Movie Review)

In the wake of the recent success of the John Wick movies, several filmmakers have tried to replicate its formula, by stuffing their films with gritty, over-the-top action scenes and totally badass antiheroes. I am talking about movies like Atomic Blonde, a film that was itself directed by David Leitch, one half of the directorial team behind the first John Wick movie. But none of those films have come close to successfully replicating that formula until now.

In Nobody, Bob Odenkirk plays Hutch Mansell, a family man that seems to be having a midlife crisis. He is caught between a stale marriage and an unfulfilling job, and the unchanging daily routines holding all of it together. After their house gets broken into one night, and Hutch fails to deal with the intruders, he appears to hit an all-time low.

But Hutch soon decides to take matters into his own hands, and following a chance encounter with a group of Russian thugs one night, he is forced to unleash a part of himself that has been long dormant. Now Hutch must do everything he can to protect his family from the fallout, as he once again finds himself navigating the criminal underworld he had once turned his back on.

Nobody has Derek Kolstad's fingerprints all over it, from its grizzled protagonist to the over-the-top action that takes up much of its runtime. The John Wick screenwriter certainly has a flair for such stories, and it was on full display here. But it is actually the film's director (Ilya Naishuller) who's DNA was most at play. Much like Hardcore Henry, the movie plays out like a video game brought to life. 

There were disposable bad guys everywhere, who seemed to spawn one minute only to get dispatched with minimal effort the next. None of that is a dinge on the quality of the action by the way, which was generally topnotch and quite visceral, just a commentary on the type of logic one should expect in the film. Put simply, this is another one of those leave-your-brain-at-the-door action flicks.

But what actually helps to elevate Nobody beyond the designation of yet another John Wick clone was Bob Odenkirk's performance. The actor imbued the character of Hutch with enough heart and soul to make him instantly likeable. It was also nice to see him able to take on an action role like this one, even if it is in an action film that borders on the very edge of full-blown comedy.

The comparisons with John Wick are of course ultimately inevitable. Both movies center upon a former hitman who is being forced out of retirement after all. But unlike John Wick, which quickly veered towards the fantastical in its depiction of its criminal underworld, this one takes a more grounded-in-reality approach. Just don't expect any of that grittiness to get in the way once the bodies start piling up.

Nobody has enough over-the-top action to rival all the films in the John Wick franchise. And while it might not do too much to set itself apart from those films, the film at least acknowledges its lack of originality with something resembling a knowing wink. Bob Odenkirk's Hutch also proved to be just as endearing as John Wick, so much so that a part of me now wishes that we'd one day get a crossover featuring both characters.

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Mortal Kombat (Movie Review)

Warner Bros. sure seems to be on a roll of late. And while the studio might still be busy basking in the glory of Godzilla vs. Kong's successful debut, that hasn't stopped them from going full steam ahead with the next film in their 2021 slate. That film is Mortal Kombat, the newest adaptation of the ultra-violent video game series that began its life in the early 90s. The film is currently scheduled for a same day release in US theaters and HBO Max, but started its international rollout this weekend.

In Mortal Kombat, a group of Earth's mightiest warriors have been chosen by the powers that be to fight in a tournament that would determine the fate of the world. This includes Cole Young (Lewis Tan), a mixed martial artist that was born with a strange dragon-shaped birthmark. After he finds himself and his family being hunted by a mysterious assassin named Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim), he is forced to seek out a woman named Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) for help.

From Sonya he learns about a tournament between the various realms, and how this had been going on for centuries. The forces of the Outworld, led by a sorcerer named Shang Tsung (Chin Han), seek to take over the Earthrealm once and for all. And in order for Cole and his fellow warriors to defend it, they'd need to undergo training under the tutelage of the god of Thunder, Raiden (Tadanobu Asano).

As a long-time fan of the Mortal Kombat games, I had approached this latest adaptation with a fair amount of skepticism. A project like this, with a first-time director and a cast populated by B and C-list stars, more often than not ends up falling short of its full potential. Also, there is the fact that I was yet to truly recover from the trauma of watching Liu Kang transform into that CGI dragon in the last film in the franchise. So yes, this latest film had a lot to prove. And prove it it does. 

The fight scenes were tightly choreographed, and the special effects were convincing in a cartoonish sort of way. I was especially surprised by just how funny the movie was, and most of that was due to Josh Lawson's portrayal of Kano. He had the whole theater where I saw the movie bawling with laughter, taking what should have been the film's most obnoxious character and making it its most endearing.

The story of the movie on the other hand was just so-so, but they can only do so much with the premise being carried over from the games, so this shouldn't really come as a surprise. The decision to focus much of that story on the rivalry between Scorpion and Sub-Zero did lend the movie most of its emotional core. But this also contributed to what I felt was my biggest issue with the film.

For a movie called Mortal Kombat, I had expected to see something resembling the proper tournament we got in the 1995 film. But the closest thing we got to that here was a montage of several match ups that were taking place at the same time. It didn't feel like we had a group of fighters working their way up the ladder towards one final confrontation, or that the tournament itself was operating by any kind of discernible rules, the way it did in the video games.

Another issue I had with the movie was the way it just sort of fizzled out at the ending, as though the filmmakers were not quite sure where or how to end it. It is not that the ending was underwhelming per se, but the movie ends right when it felt like things were about to get good, making the whole thing feel like mere setup for future films.

It is also worth noting that the film is excessively violent, with enough blood and gore to make even horror fans squirm. But I think that should go without saying, given its source material and its storied history. It definitely earns its R-rating. So if you fancy watching a man rip a bat-winged woman in two with a weaponized hat, and hearing him call out "flawless victory" afterwards, then you're in for a bloody good time. 

Mortal Kombat works because it fully embraces the tongue-in-cheek nature of its source material. Unlike previous entries in the series, which tended to take themselves a little too seriously, this one strikes a nice balance between comedy and action. Its self-awareness elevates what would've otherwise been another retread into something that is sure to please fans of the games and the earlier movies alike.

Saturday, 27 March 2021

Godzilla vs. Kong (Movie Review)

The epic showdown to rival all epic showdowns is here folks. The two monsters at the center of the ongoing MonsterVerse finally go toe-to-toe with one another in Godzilla vs. Kong. The people at Legendary Pictures have been building towards that fight since the 2014 reboot of the Godzilla franchise. And with this latest movie, it would appear that they've finally gotten the DNA of what makes these movies so appealing down to a science.

This is the part where I normally give a basic plot summary for the entire movie, before proceeding to share my thoughts. But to say that this movie had anything resembling an intelligible plot is a bit of a stretch. At best, it is all just meaningless setup to get the two titular titans to fight one another. But for anyone that has been following the threads introduced in the previous films in the MonsterVerse, here is all you need to know.

Kong has basically outgrown his home on Skull Island since the events of that movie. This prompts the scientists looking after him to take him on a journey across the ocean to find his "true home." Meanwhile, Godzilla is back again after asserting his position as the Titan alpha in King of the Monsters. Only this time, he attacks a research facility for reasons unknown as he goes on a rampage. And with the two monsters now out in the open, it is only a matter of time before both apex predators butt heads.

To say that I was excited heading into Godzilla vs. Kong after all the excellent trailers that preceded it is a bit of an understatement. My hype level for the film was through the roof, being a fan of at least one of the two monsters since early childhood (for anyone wondering, I was squarely on Team Godzilla). And I'm pleased to report that the movie didn't disappoint, at least on a purely visceral level.

The movie makes good on its promise of having the two titans duke it out, and then some. I especially loved how both monsters got to shine at various points throughout the movie, adding even more fire to the fan debates. The final showdown in particular was appropriately epic, hearkening back to the classic Toho movies while still delivering something that was ultimately fresh and modern. The overall outcome was fairly predictable, but it was still satisfying to see all of it play out.

It should go without saying that some suspension of disbelief is required in order for the movie to truly work. The human characters are also once again the weakest part of the movie, existing solely to give exposition dumps that try to make sense of everything that is happening. Thankfully, the film spends far less time following those characters, and puts the focus squarely on the two larger-than-life monsters moviegoers came to see.

Godzilla vs. Kong is the Marvel's Avengers of the Legendary MonsterVerse. It is easily the best film in the franchise thus far, and it stands as an improvement over the three films that came before it. And while it is far from a perfect film, the fact that it fully embraces the ridiculousness of its premise makes for a culmination that earns an easy recommendation from me.

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Zack Snyder's Justice League (Movie Review)

The moment DC fans have been waiting for is finally here, again. Zack Snyder's cut of the previously-released Justice League makes its debut on HBO Max today. The fact that the film opens with a message from Zack Snyder himself reinforces the long and troubled road that has led to the movie's eventual release. And now that it is here, the unavoidable comparisons with the theatrical cut of the movie begin.

On the surface, Zack Snyder's Justice League is an alternative take on the formation of the DC superhero team. But by and large, this is the same core movie we got back in 2017, with Bruce Wayne traveling the world in an effort to put together a team of metahumans to stop the threat he had seen in a vision in Batman v Superman

That threat would once again materialize in the form of Steppenwolf and his army of parademons, who are still out searching for the three mother boxes, and Superman is still dead and not even seen for the bulk of the movie. That's all you need to know about the movie's story really, that it is largely unchanged aside from some fleshed-out backstories and a few surprises here and there.

The biggest difference then comes in the form of its length and overall style. There's plenty of Zack Snyder's signature flair for slow-motion sequences, some of which call back to his work on the visually-stunning 300. The movie also has a darker tone more in line with previous DCEU entries, as well as boasts an R-rating, which is immediately evident in its violent action scenes.

Some of the newer stuff doesn't quite match up with existing VFX shots though. I suspect that has more to do with the time between both cuts of the movie than anything else. There is also the issue of the movie's overall length, which starts to border on the edge of over-indulgent before long. But considering that my biggest criticism for the theatrical version was the fact that several key characters felt underdeveloped, the additional footage here brings some much-needed context.

This was especially true of Aquaman and Cyborg, with the latter in particular feeling more integral to the overall story this time around. You could really get a better sense of where both characters were coming from, making their initial reluctance to join the Justice League all the more understandable. Flash also got to shine with more extended action scenes, and the character was still responsible for much of this version's comic relief.

Another character that really benefited from the extended footage was Steppenwolf. He was not only depicted as a far more formidable foe than his depiction in the theatrical version, he was also given a fully fleshed-out backstory and a clear-cut motive. His desire to get back into the good graces of Darkseid meant we finally understood why he was so desperate to get the mother boxes, allowing me to even sympathize with him in a way that was impossible in the previous version.

And speaking of Darkseid, the DC villain was indeed in more scenes than I'd expected, but I can still see why he was ultimately cut from the theatrical version. He didn't really add much to the story, other than in an extended flashback sequence that helped establish the origin of the mother boxes. A part of me suspects he was merely included here to give hints of a potential sequel that may never see the light of day. But if the release of the Snyder Cut has taught me one thing, it is to never say never.

Zack Snyder's Justice League seems almost tailor-made for fans of the DCEU. It delivers its promise of a more coherent story, as well as a vision that was consistent with the director's two previous films. So the fact that it also manages to surpass that other version in several ways shouldn't really come as a surprise. And while it is quite unlikely that its release would prompt any shifts in plans for future movies, I am still glad that it exists and would gladly recommend it to fans and critics of the DCEU alike.

Thursday, 11 March 2021

Cosmic Sin (Movie Review)

Every now and then, I find myself drawn towards the occasional B-movie. This is especially the case whenever I see big name Hollywood stars like Bruce Willis or Nicolas Cage attached to such projects. Call it morbid curiosity, but I typically go into these movies hoping for a potential gem, or at least one that might be worthy of the "so bad, it's good" designation. Cosmic Sin is unfortunately neither of those two things.

The movie takes place in the year 2524, after humans have developed the ability to travel to distant star systems. While trying to colonize a seemingly deserted planet, a group of soldiers make first contact with a race of aliens that prove hostile. To deal with the threat of further attacks, a rogue unit of soldiers decide to take matters into their own hands by executing a retaliatory attack on the alien's home world.

Fresh off his appearance in the sci-fi-martial arts hybrid, Jiu Jitsu, Frank Grillo plays Gen. Eron Ryle, the leader of this outfit. He is forced to enlist the help of a man named James Ford (Bruce Willis), a retired soldier who was renowned for his skill and calculative measures. Together, the two men must work to find the coordinates of the alien planet, before the aliens find their way to Earth and launch an all-out assault.

I don't know what I was expecting when I'd decided to check out Cosmic Sin exactly. Definitely not to be bored out of my skull though. For a movie that had been billed as a science fiction action film, I was surprised by just how uninspired that action turned out to be. The movie throws every war movie cliche and one-liner imaginable at viewers, with the hope that their inclusion would somehow mask its unremarkable storyline.

But this only added to my inherent frustration with the film. The dialogue was barely intelligible, filled with sci-fi jargon, and the actors themselves were far from convincing. Bruce Willis in particular looked like he would rather be somewhere else. In a better movie perhaps. His phoned-in performance was matched only by some truly cringe-worthy lines of dialogue. 

All that is to say that the movie was a chore to get through, which is saying something considering its barely 90-minutes runtime. But I guess you could also say that it comes with the territory. This is a B-movie after all. Except most B-movies at least offer some level of fun that make them worth the price of admission, a key aspect that was severely lacking in Cosmic Sin.

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Raya and the Last Dragon (Movie Review)

At the start of the year, I had shared what I considered my most anticipated movies for 2021, most of which were carryovers from 2020. And the only animated film to make that list was Disney's Raya and the Last Dragon, a film that had been on my radar ever since it was announced at the D23 Expo in 2019. Originally slated for a November 2020 release, the movie debuted simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+, through a $30 premier access fee, this past weekend.

Set in a mythical kingdom called Kumandra, the movie follows the adventures of a young woman named Raya (Kelly Marie Tran). She is on a quest to summon the last dragon, Sissu (Akwafina), in a bid to reverse the curse that has turned much of her people to stone, and to banish the Drunn, the evil creatures responsible. But in order to do that, she must journey to the other warring factions that make up Kumandra, to steal back the pieces of a magical orb that serve as the source of the dragon's powers.

The first thing that struck me about Raya and the Last Dragon was its jaw-dropping animation. The wizards at the Walt Disney Animation Studios continue to impress with each subsequent movie they put out, and this latest one is certainly no different. Their movie is populated with lush landscapes and expressive characters, and the whole thing really pops in a way that only big-budget animated movies tend to do.

On the audio side of things, Akwafina once again shines, lending her voice to the titular last dragon. She was full of energy in an excessively talkative way, but never became obnoxiously so, much in the same way that Ellen DeGeneres managed to be in Finding Dory. Kelly Marie Tran also imbued Raya with all the quiet determination the character called for, and the ensemble as a whole was one of the better ones I've seen in an animated film.

Raya and the Last Dragon has all the right ingredients that make up a Disney animated classic. The movie is beautiful to look at, and the voice actors really help to bring the characters to life. But even more than that, it tells a heartfelt story with a message about setting aside our differences and coming together as one, a message that is especially timely today.

Saturday, 6 March 2021

Coming 2 America (Movie Review)

It has taken more than three decades, but we've finally gotten a sequel to one of the biggest breakout comedies from the 1980s, Coming to America. In that film, a young African prince had decided to scorn the traditions of his kingdom, as he journeys to America in search of true love. Considered a cult classic till today, the movie was a hit with audiences all over the world. So it comes to reason then that expectations were reasonably high for this long-awaited sequel.

In Coming 2 America, Eddie Murphy reprises his role as Prince Akeem of Zamunda. It's been 30 years since the events of the first film, and now with the king (James Earl Jones) on his deathbed, Akeem must prepare to take the mantle for himself. He must also contend with General Izzi (Wesley Snipes), a local warload and leader of the neighboring kingdom of Nextdoria, who is still displeased that Akeem had opted not to marry his younger sister, Imani, in the first film.

With the two kingdoms on the verge of war, Akeem finds himself trying to secure Zamunda's future in the event of his untimely passing, a task that is made harder by the fact that he only had three daughters and no male heir. But he soon learns that he'd fathered an illegitimate son (Jermaine Fowler) with a woman named Mary (Leslie Jones) while in America. Now he must journey back to New York with his trusty aide, Semmi (Arsenio Hall), with hopes of finding him.

Coming 2 America doubles down on everything fans loved about the first movie. The result is a movie that might not be considered fresh or original, but one that also never ceases to be entertaining. And the fact that it doesn't even try to reinvent the wheel is certainly not a bad thing, not when the movie had so much going for it.

Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall look like they've barely aged a day since the first movie, with both actors once again taking upon multiple roles. But the true highlight for me was Wesley Snipes, who looked like he was having the most fun out of all the actors. He also managed to garner the most laughs, as every single one of his scenes had me smiling from ear to ear.

The other performances ranged from good to adequate, although I found Leslie Jones' turn as Mary, the mother to Akeem's illegitimate son, a little too over-the-top and stereotypical for my liking. But taken as a whole, the ensemble certainly holds their own, even though other areas like the script left a bit more to be desired.

Coming 2 America might lean a little too heavily upon the nostalgia fans had for the first movie, but it is still a worthy sequel in more ways than one. Its predictable story is made up for by some truly funny performances, and even the over-the-top antics of some of its characters felt right at home. I don't see the film winning over any new fans, but it has certainly managed to please this one.

Friday, 26 February 2021

The Obituary of Tunde Johnson (Movie Review)

Films often spend a good bit of time trying to find a home after making their debuts at the various film festivals. This was certainly the case with The Obituary of Tunde Johnson, an American drama about a black gay boy named Tunde struggling to escape a fate that seems all but destined for him. Originally making its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2019, it finally receives a simultaneous release in select theaters and video-on-demand platforms this weekend.

In The Obituary of Tunde Johnson, Steven Silver plays Tunde, a young black boy of Nigerian descent, who struggles with anxiety and depression, amongst other things. You see, Tunde is not only gay, but he is also caught in a love triangle between his childhood friend and her closeted boyfriend, Soren. On the night that he comes out as gay to his parents, both of whom appear to be supportive of the news, he is pulled over by police while driving to attend Soren's birthday party in celebration. 

It is immediately clear that Tunde is a victim of racial profiling, and despite doing everything he can to comply with the police officers, the incident would end with Tunde being killed. Except for Tunde, it wasn't the end at all, as he finds himself having to relieve that same day over and over again, with the same tragic outcome. But with each iteration of the day, he gradually develops the understanding and acceptance he needs to face his demons.

I have seen my fair share of movies with infinite time loops, but this is the first one I am seeing where the concept is used so effectively to explore the issues that plague a young black man in America. From racial profiling to police brutality, these are issues we hear about on the news, with far-reaching ramifications that often signal just how far we still have to go to become all-inclusive. And that it used them to further its narrative, and did that so well, is something that definitely needs to be applauded.

But at the center of the whole thing was of course Steven Silver, who owned the role of Tunde. He had also played Marcus in the Netflix show, 13 Reasons Why, and while he was never quite one of the standouts on that show, he gets to shine brightly here. His range of emotions spoke of a boy that was struggling to find his place in a society where he clearly felt ostracized, with the time loop device allowing for more and more layers of his character to be peeled back as the movie progressed, taking viewers on as much a journey of self-discovery as that of its main character.

It's a shame then that the same praise cannot be given to the rest of the cast. As a Nigerian myself, it was a bit disappointing to see that the actors who played Tunde's parents didn't speak with anything remotely resembling a proper Nigerian accent. This is especially aggravating considering the large number of Nigerian actors out there in Hollywood, any of which would have given a more convincing performance. I mean, I even made a whole video about a number of them just last year. 

The film also often veered into the realm of teen melodrama, where it tended to lose focus of the larger issues it tries to tackle in favor of played-out high school tropes. But it thankfully never completely loses sight of those larger issues, and aside from these perceived problems, I have to say that The Obituary of Tunde Johnson is a real eye opener overall.

Sunday, 21 February 2021

I Care a Lot (Movie Review)

Rosamund Pikes steps back into familiar territory in the new dark comedy, I Care a Lot, a film for which she recently received a Best Actress nomination at the forthcoming Golden Globes. The movie was written and directed by J Blakeson, an English filmmaker best remembered for helming the YA sci-fi adaptation, The 5th Wave. Following a strong showing at the Toronto International Film Festival last September, his latest film makes its debut on both Netflix and Amazon Prime this weekend.

The film stars Rosamund Pike as Marla Grayson, a woman who runs an elaborate scam where she gets the court to appoint her as guardian to wealthy senior citizens deemed no longer capable of taking care of themselves. She then proceeds to put them up in a retirement home where they have no contact with the outside world, while she profits by liquidating their assets.

But unbeknownst to Marla, her latest target is the mother of a Russian mobster (played by Peter Dinklage), and the woman had been in possession of some diamonds worth millions of dollars. And now her son is willing to go to any lengths to get both of them back, as Marla finds herself entangled in a battle of wits.

I Care a Lot is an exhilarating story about ruthless ambition and its consequences. The film is populated with characters operating within the dark side of a clearly flawed legal system, and as such, it was almost impossible for me to root for any single one of them. But I still found myself wanting to see the story through to its ending, just to see whether or not some due justice was going to get served.

The real highlight of course was Rosamond Pike, who once again channels a cold, diabolical side that is sure to leave viewers shaking in their seats, be that from fear or righteous anger. I still get chills when thinking of her performance from Gone Girl, and her performance here was every bit as strong and memorable. That said, Peter Dinklage also manages to hold his own, plus it was nice seeing the Game of Thrones alum after that show had left fans with a sour taste in their mouth.

The film was also stylishly put together, from its smooth editing to its synth-heavy soundtrack. My main gripe with the movie then stems from its overall identity crisis. I'm a fan of dark comedies, but this particular one was devoid of any real jokes, at least ones that landed or that I would consider memorable. As such, it settles into this awkward middle ground between a true comedy and a psychological thriller.

I Care a Lot skirts by off the strength of its lead star. Rosamund Pike has already proven herself to be an accomplished actress at this point, so whether or not she snags the Golden Globe this year shouldn't change any of that. Her latest film is just further proof of why she is one of the most talented actresses working in Hollywood today.

Sunday, 14 February 2021

Namaste Wahala (Movie Review)

The Nigerian film industry, or Nollywood as it is more popularly referred to, produces more films on a yearly basis than the likes of Hollywood and China. It is in fact only bested by Bollywood, which produced just shy of 2,000 films in 2019 alone. Granted, most of those films were direct-to-video offerings made on a shoestring budget. But every now and then, we happen to get the occasional gem, or dare I say, guilty pleasure.

Now imagine what would happen if those two industries were to join forces. The answer, my friends, is Namaste Wahala, a cross-cultural romantic comedy debuting on Netflix this Valentine.

The movie stars Ini Dima-Okojie as Didi, a young lawyer who works at a family-owned law firm. Following a chance encounter with an attractive Indian man named Raj (Ruslaan Mumtaz), the two fall helplessly in love with one another. But in a classic case of forbidden love, Raj is rejected by Chidinma's parents when she brings him home to meet them, while Chidinma herself is given a similar treatment by Raj's mum. Now the two star-crossed lovers must find a way to convince their families they were meant to be together.

I'll confess that I am not the biggest fan of Bollywood movies, with the likes of Slumdog Millionaire and Lion being the closest I have gotten to enjoying the depiction of Indian culture in film. Same goes for Nollywood movies, many of which I find too insufferable to sit through. All that is to say that I was fairly skeptical heading into Namaste Wahala, despite all the social media buzz it has received in the lead up to its release.

So how exactly is the film then you ask? Well, not too bad. I could even go as far as saying I was pleasantly surprised by it. That it not to say that it was the best thing since sliced bread. And the film definitely had its fair share of problems, several of which I would touch upon now.

Those of you that read my Wedding Party review already know how I feel about Richard Mofe Damijo and his acting, and not much has changed since then, so the less said about his acting here the better. Other notable appearances include Broda Shaggi, who played a hot-tempered cabdriver, as well as M.I., who played himself.

Prior to the movie's release, we heard a lot of news about the Chocolate City rapper handling the soundtrack of the movie. And if all that translated into was the rapper's song playing over a montage while he makes a tacked-on cameo appearance, then color me disappointed. At least the scene didn't overstay its welcome, so that's a plus.

The strength of any good romantic comedy though rests upon the chemistry between its two leads. And while both Ruslaan and Ini were competent enough in their roles, I still had a hard time buying into their love for one another. This wasn't exactly help by the fact that the romance between the two had escalated so quickly that some suspension of disbelief was required in order to fully buy into the whole thing.

I mean, Raj himself had alluded to the fact that he had charmed his way into her heart. It would have been nice to see how exactly.

The film definitely follows most of the tropes you'd expect to find in a romantic comedy, like the the best friend who provides most of the comic relief. Sadly, it also had all the classic Nollywood trappings as well, from overacted melodramatic scenes, to cheesy lines of dialogue and deliveries that have you laughing for all the wrong reasons.

I also had issues with how the film had managed its runtime. There was a sexual assault subplot that took up a large chunk of the movie's 1 hour 46 minutes length, and I felt this could have been used to better develop the core story and characters, or trimmed out completely, as it didn't really tie into the overall plot in any meaningful way. It did at least give us some of the most comically bad line deliveries when it arrived at its climax though. You'll know it when you hear it, and I guess this could count as another plus.

Namaste Wahala works best when viewed as a homage to the films of Nollywood and Bollywood, zits and all. The cheese factor was definitely stronger than I would have liked, but therein lies most of the film's appeal. That the film also has a strong overall message about cultures coming together, and true love transcending cultural barriers, makes it easy for me to recommend to anyone that enjoys feel-good romances. It's definitely worth checking out on Netflix.