Is Jagun Jagun on Netflix Worth Watching? [Movie Review]

Jagun Jagun movie review

I remember when the trailer for Jagun Jagun first dropped and I reacted to it. I noticed that the production scale was large and after finally watching the movie, in that regard, I wasn’t disappointed at all. 

The sheer number of cast members and extras alone made the movie a memorable one, and one worthy of commendation because hardly do you see Nollywood movies with such a volume of cast. Granted not all the cast members are known to the general public, but if you watch Yoruba movies very well, or have done so at some point in your life, you’d definitely recognize the faces of most of the major and supporting cast members.

In that regard, Jagun Jagun shone and did its best to shake the industry and give other producers much to think about, but in many other regards, what could have been a movie that translated beyond the screen into real life to become a fierce warrior championing the revolutionization of indigenous Nollywood movies, was nothing more than a tree with thorns choking it and roots not strong enough to hold its own weight.

The Convoluted Plot

The genesis of Jagun Jagun’s problems started with the plot of the movie. While the movie’s plot is marketed as “A young man determined to become a mighty warrior joins an elite army, encountering the wrath of a maniacal warlord and the love of a woman”. This is not the case for the first seventy minutes of the two-hour thirteen minutes movie.

In fact, there was no plot, it was a mess of convoluted scenes in which nothing really happens as different scenes go by in a flash, without landing well enough to give you an experience.

READ ALSO: The Woman King Movie Review – A Love Letter to Nigeria’s Past and Present Heroes

The Story

While the underlying story, which really only happened in the last forty minutes of the movie was intriguing enough, the journey to getting to the start of the actual story wasn’t great. It was more or less a showcase of different things and scenes which truly didn’t add anything to the story. You were left wondering who, what, when, and how we got there.

The movie ran through multiple kingdoms to portray its great scale but fell short when it came time to actually show it. 

We were introduced to kingdoms that we never saw again. Kingdoms that had no business being in the movie and didn’t add to the story, and worse yet, establishing shots that showed the said kingdoms, but all we got to see in them were little corners or a room where actions, that didn’t really matter to moving the story forward, took place.

At its roots, Jagun Jagun is a movie about Ogundiji (Femi Adebayo) and his warriors who are feared across the land. However, the fight scenes involving his warriors don’t really show why they are feared.

A good example of this is the movie 300, in which King Leonidas led a group of Spartan warriors into battle. While the movie established Leonidas’ prowess in battle, it also showed that his warriors are equally skilled and should be feared. The fear of the 300 soldiers ran through the Persian army as they decimated waves upon waves of them.

Jagun Jagun, on the other hand, took the cultural approach of using charms in battle, which brought it closer to home and gave it that much-needed relatability to stand out. However, the execution left you wondering two things: Why is anyone fearing a Jagun Jagun member that isn’t Ogundiji or Agemo, and what do the supposed charms given to the Jagun Jagun members actually do?

The dialogue of the movie was just as convoluted as the plot itself. Its approach of using proverbs at every turn ended up getting in the way of the story, and in many cases, it contradicted itself.

Take a scene where Ogundiji kills someone and sends the body back to their village. You have a character saying “Which dog is brave enough to kill a Tiger’s child?” in response to seeing the dead body.

A woman, who we don’t know whether she’s his mother, aunty, or just a random person in the village, runs into the scene and asks why they didn’t hold the people that brought the dead body, to which the response is “would a cob grow its hairs in the face of fire? Who dares confront them” is given.

The Characters

As mentioned earlier, the sheer number of characters in the movie wowed me and it was really great to see. However, there was no substance to 90% of the characters in the Jagun Jagun movie.

In two hours, you can count the number of characters you’d be invested in on one hand, and there would still be enough space left to add to the emptiness you feel after watching it. That is if you remember the names of up to five characters.

Jagun Jagun tried to portray different forms of relationships and bonds but there were only two that truly hit the mark because the movie took time to establish them; Gbotija (Lateef Adedimeji) and Kitan’s (Bukunmi Oluwashina) romance, and Ogundiji’s lack of connection and empathy with everyone in his life, from his wife to his soldiers.

There were other bonds formed between characters that made you question how and when they got so close. And even though a brief montage after certain events showed gave a semblance of how they formed those bonds, it didn’t help that it wasn’t properly set up beforehand.

Overall, the production of Jagun Jagun felt more like a statement telling the world that “We can make film shots like this and that now” or “We are now capable of doing this level of visual effects and CGI”. But in all these, it failed to give a well-rounded story from end to end.

Is Jagun Jagun worth watching? The last 40 to 45 minutes of the movie are, but everything that came before felt like a cry for help than a movie that could’ve taken Nollywood one step closer to getting an Academy Award.

 

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