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Cinema Review: “Three Wise Men” – Opa Williams Returns To Filmmaking With An Eyesore


Opa Williams released an unconventional trailer for his 2016 film Three Wise Men that got many talking. It starred three veterans of Nollywood, doing things on screen we had never seen them do. I wanted badly for this movie to make sense. It didn’t. It was so bad, there was a general hiss across the cinema as soon as the credits began to roll.

Much like America’s Last Vegas, Three Wise Men tells the story of grey-haired friends in their sixties who get a sum of thirty million Naira each as pension for their meritorious service to the government. They begin to squander it on girls and ill-fitting attires, led by Irikefe (Richard Mofe Damijo) who is a serial divorcee. Tobore is happily married, but he too is lured as his wife is invalid and has not slept with him in years. Timi (Zack Orji) is described as ‘married but available’, and he is exactly that, winking at every fine female that crosses his path. In the end, he loses his money to fraudsters, Tobore (Victor Olaotan) almost loses his ailing wife when she finds out he is having an affair, and Irikefe manages to evade his two militant sons from killing him and stealing all that he has. That’s really all there is to this story. Simple, right? Wrong.

The director (Patience Oghre Imobhio) makes them go on and on, with endless scenes of these men trying to get girls and show how rich they have become.  Then they end it with a sudden switch to something about God and angels and completely murder the entire plot. At this point, you almost want to cry at how silly everyone looks. The writers of this film had many issues, and the most predominant was not knowing where to stop. They seemed to run around in circles, wondering what to do with these characters they had created, and since they still couldn’t find the point, they decided to throw in the supernatural into the mix to appeal to the sensibilities of the religious and probably force in a moral lesson. It failed. Woefully, if I may say so.

The first thing you observe as soon as the film opens is how much of an eyesore the picture quality is. At several points, it is either too sharp it looks like an animation, or too blurry it looks like an ad from the eighties, faded colours and all. Of course, there are moments that instigate genuine laughter, mostly by Richard Mofe-Damijo (who, quite frankly, is the only reason I didn’t walk out of the cinema), but the annoying scenes far outweigh the funny ones and make the one hundred minutes spent watching this film seem like a complete waste. Victor Olaotan struggles repeatedly with his pidgin and his humour. Zack Orji’s look and facial expressions contrast with his character, making the things he does seem out of place. Tina Mba and Ebele Okaro play the wives of Timi and Tobore respectively.

There isn’t much to be said about Three Wise Men, other than the fact that it is a poorly written and poorly directed film. I wish cinemas could give a refund.


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