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Movie Review: Why ‘Kesari’ is an adventurous drama filled with hiccups



Kesari the King Review

The Nigerian film industry has recently witnessed the release of the highly-anticipated Yoruba movie, Kesari The King, directed by Ibrahim Yekini and Tope Adebayo.

This action-packed movie made its grand entrance into cinemas nationwide on August 25th, 2023, and it’s safe to say that it’s been the talk of the town ever since, but not for the reasons you are probably thinking as I know I came out of the cinemas with drooped shoulders heavy with disappointment as my expectations were very high concerning this movie. 

One of the first things that grabs your attention when diving into the world of Kesari The King is its star-studded cast. From seasoned veterans like Adebayo Salami, Bolaji Ogunmola, Yvonne Jegede, Dele Odule, and Odunlade Adekola to fresh talents such as Boma, Deyemi Okanlawon, and Mr. Macaroni, this ensemble of actors brings their own wealth of talent to the screen. With such a diverse and skilled lineup, expectations run high, and it’s exciting to see how each character contributes to the unfolding narrative to make it watchable.

At the heart of this tale is Yekini himself, who not only directs but also takes on the lead role. His character is no ordinary one; it’s that of a legendary deity who, against all odds, transforms into a notorious robber.

What makes this character truly captivating is the twist—despite his life of crime, he employs his ill-gotten gains for philanthropic purposes. It’s like a supernatural Yoruba version of Peter Pan, where our protagonist’s actions are driven by a sense of moral justice but then we’ve seen so much of this storyline it smears the movie with boilerplate. There is nothing spectacular about the movie’s storyline. 

The movie’s plot unfolds as Kesari and his gang of robbers continue their audacious heists, with Kesari’s superpowers making him nearly invincible. The police force, initially powerless against him, begins a relentless pursuit, leading to a high-stakes game of cat and mouse. As the tension escalates, secrets are unveiled, alliances are tested, and the pursuit becomes a matter of personal and professional pride for the police chief played by Femi Adebayo.

One of the film’s strengths lies in its special effects, which, while not yet perfected, was okay. From Kesari’s displays of power to various supernatural artifacts, the visual elements are not bad although Kesari’s display of power looks laughable sometimes, especially in the final scene of the movie when he supernaturally goes around shooting the police officers. It was just too unreal.

The acting from the top-billed cast is commendable, although it follows a somewhat generic pattern seen in many similar films. It is expected as these are seasoned actors and I believe the actors are one of the elements that did not make the movie look too bad. Unfortunately, the background actors don’t quite measure up to the main cast, displaying moments of inexperience and occasional lapses in immersion. 

On the downside, the film’s sound effects occasionally feel excessive and distracting, with over-the-top emphasis on every action and dialogue. The transitions between scenes can be jarring, and at times, multiple layers of sound compete for the audience’s attention. Let’s not even talk about the costumes.

One aspect that might leave audiences divided is the film’s plot. While it adds depth to the narrative, some viewers might find it overly convoluted, with unnecessary subplots and characters that create a few plot holes.

The cinematography in Kesari The King

In Kesari The King, the cinematography is a mixed bag, offering both moments of visual brilliance and some areas for improvement. The film’s camera work is generally okay, with several sequences showcasing the scenic beauty of its Yoruba settings. The cinematography effectively captures the vibrant colors and rich cultural aesthetics of the environment, adding depth to the storytelling.

However, there are instances where the cinematography falls short of its potential. Some action sequences, though well-choreographed, could benefit from more dynamic and inventive camera angles to heighten the excitement and immersion. Additionally, the film occasionally relies on conventional shot compositions and framing, missing opportunities to create more visually arresting moments.

It’s worth noting that Kesari The King still manages to deliver good visuals in its supernatural and action sequences, where the cinematography enhances the impact of Kesari’s powers and the intensity of the robberies. These moments draw the audience into the supernatural aspects of the story.

In essence, Kesari The King is not too bad, boasting good cinematography, solid performances thanks to the seasoned actors, and moments of humor, thanks to characters like Water played by Lateef. It blends supernatural elements with the cliche ‘police and thief’ storyline, reminiscent of Robin Hood. However, it’s important to approach the film with an open mind and not set your expectations too high.

In the end, I will rate the movie 4.5/10 not too bad for Yekini’s first attempt at a cinema movie, I believe he can do better.