For most Nigerian movie directors, stories that unavoidably involve certain technicalities like accurate depiction of shootings or gun handling are always challenging. The actors themselves don’t even help matters at all. It’s worse off when they handle riffles, OMG! They swing them about the way my little Johnny swings and aims his plastic gun at the walls. Lol!! But lovers of Nollywood movies will agree with me that over time, a number of courageous attempts have been made at martial arts by Nollywood directors. Some of them were careful enough to give it a shot by infusing just one or two nice stunts while some like Gugu Michaels gave it their all in Dangerous Men. Maybe Nigerian directors don’t really shy away from action movies after all just as rightly said in an interview by the founder of Eko International Film Festival, Obioma Opara.
The Etuwe Legacy:Restitution, a new short film of twenty-eight minutes, fifty-six seconds by Melvin Nzefili Film Production and Samuel Adeyemi a.k.a Sammy P Film on martial arts has confidently reaffirmed to us that Nollywood directors can indeed pull accurate fighting stunts in their movies if people who have the skills are patronized to play such roles. In 2011, Gugu Michael patronized George Davidson and Leo U’ Che, Nigeria’s five-time Kung fu champion and these two men did fantastically as professional fighters before the cameras. The brain behind The Etuwe Legacy, Melvin Nzefili, is a professional fighter and martial arts trainer. No wonder the fighting scenes are so thrilling especially with the pair of Onah and Ogume.
Starring Melvin Nzefili, Lois Emmanuel, Eucharia Odoh, Samuel Adeyemi, Jimoh Michael Ratty, Tony Leigh and Raphael Adewale, The Etuweh Legacy:Restitution is erected on a tripod of self-worth or pride before shifting to revenge and then preservation of family values. It begins with a bloody fight between Ogume (Jimoh Michael) and Osuya (Melvin Nzefili) that results in a near-death experience for Osuya. He had taken up the challenge to prove to Ogume that he wasn’t walking in the shadows of his father–Etuwe– who remained an undefeated champion before his death. After witnessing the defeat and humiliation of her brother, Onah angrily challenges Ogume to another bout that would take place at a later date to retrieve the trophy from Ogume.
For Onah to win Ogume, she needs a trainer, someone who can teach her better. Tem (Eucharia Odoh) her best friend introduces her to Sutech and Bone Cracker but she finally settles with Asuai. He trains her and helps her get rid of her anger. Eventually, Onah decides to pull out of the fight but Ogume and Ossai (Tony Leigh) baits her to an open field with an unofficial referee. That singular move of Ogume’s over-confidence turns the table around. At that point, Onah gives it her all and surprisingly defeats the strong Ogume.
The fighting scenes are capable of making one watch over and over again no doubt but I can’t help paying attention to the sound. The effects are cool however, the words of the actors resound. It seems like their voicing was done separately in the studio and then matched with their actions on the field. Nice location I must say except for Onah’s day 1 training with Asuai. Why should that be at the estate gate, why not a secluded area? Another is the umbrella Ossai used while training with Ogume. Couldn’t you guys have gotten a stick? Or what did you hope to achieve with that?
We are evolving and I’m happy with productions like this one. In my wildest imaginations, I look, really look forward to the day our martial arts actors would fly high-up and do fast as in extremely fast moves like Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Chia- Hui Lui, Hark-On Fung and others.
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