BY IFE OLUJUYIGBE
If there’s one lesson I have learned from watching movies, it is this: never trust a trailer. Never. They are mostly a disjointed combination of the best moments of a movie which translate to nothing at all about the movie. They’re a showoff of moments of good directing. Don’t fall for them.
Out of Luck is a testament to this. Watch the trailer for Out of Luck (OOL) and be dazzled, like us. Then spend ninety minutes in the cinema watching the movie, and you’d turn to a philosopher, like me, telling tales of the shape of the sun and love long gone.
Yes, OOL boasts of some big guns in the industry. Wole Ojo is a star in every sense of the word, known for acting in ‘new generation’ award-winning Nollywood movies and short films. Linda Ejiofor has proven herself from her days in Tinsel and beyond. Adesua Etomi took the industry by storm when she stormed it a few years back; she hasn’t looked back since. Older and even more prominent stars such as Jide Kosoko and Femi Branch are known for performances that have cut across the English and Yoruba Nigerian movie scene. Even Chigurl, a popular comedienne had her feature in the movie. Seeing all these names, you are more than assured of the time of your life, just long enough until you sit through it.
Out of Luck tells a story of a young man, Dapo (Tope Tedela) who works with a lottery company called Baba Oregun as an attendant. He comes across Innocent (Femi Branch), a local gangster who plays and wins, but wins a little too late as the betting for the session is already closed. Dapo tries to explain this to him, but he would have none of it, and threatens Dapo to get him his money, which is in millions of naira, or he would have his life and that of those he loves -which include his girlfriend, Halima, his friend, Yinka, and his brother- in danger. In a bid to find this money, he reunites with his brother who now has a pretty and good-natured wife called Bisola, but his brother wants nothing to do with him. He attempts a robbery that backfires and puts him and his friend in danger of the law. Things get really messy along the line, and lives are lost in the process.
First, let’s give Niyi Akinmolayan props for the storyline. It’s a new angle, an uncharted path, and so gives the movie a form of originality which is a rarity in Nollywood. Then we must applaud Linda for having us sold with her ‘bush girl’ character. Oh, and maybe Chigurl for the comic relief. Should we give Adesua a nod too for being so beautiful in the movie? Okay. This is where the praises stop.
Femi Branch’s character is over the top. It seems like he is trying too hard to sell the bad boy persona, and ends up doing an illusory version of it. Even his thugs don’t help matters, acting like Ogogo and Qura Matete from back in the day,when? 1992? Tope Tedela’s performance is very rigid; he has to convince us he is angry by either raising his voice or slamming his fist on the table. His face does almost nothing. Wole Ojo is mostly sad throughout the movie, and Adesua’s character is too good to be true. Niyi Johnson makes us laugh at the beginning, then hears us laughing and begins to overdo it. At several points in the movie, he speaks more Yoruba than he does English, and gets us wondering if he is carried away because he has no script.
Weak. Watery. These words aptly describe the resolution of OOL. The transitioning from sworn enemies to happy brothers is utterly unbelievable. The final exchange of gunshots in a slow-motion flurry is so unreal it had me laughing at its ridiculousness. Oh, and there’s the typical police-only-stops-the-guilty scene somewhere in the middle. The police pass several people at the roadside, only to stop and question a ‘doctor’ for jogging beside the road. Biko, where is this done?
Even the photography is weak. I had to ask the fellow beside me if this movie is actually suited for cinemas or just a ‘home video’ wey miss road. Dude laughed, nodding repeatedly in agreement. The sound is below par, and the fact that Baba Oregun turns out to be Bisola’s father had me clapping at its height of tackiness. I really thought we had gone past this.
All in all, Out of Luck is out of luck.