What’s up! I’m Marlon, and this is Ulven Reviews: movies and series from all over the world.
Today let’s talk about the Nigerian Action and Adventure Amina, directed by Izu Ojukwu.
Always remember you can navigate the video through chapters and timestamps. Today we’ll have two plot summaries: one quick version, and the other with more details.
Since childhood, the fierce Princess Amina (played by Lucy Ameh) of the Zazzau Kingdom trains combat with her people’s best warrior, the Kabarkai (played by Blessing Godwin Ogaga), son of the priestess Zumbura (played by Clarion Chukwura-Abiola).
Treason from the Madaki (played by Magaji Mijiwana) is always lurking around the throne of the Sarki (played by Abu Chris Gbakann), father of Amina and Zaria (played by Habiba Ummi Mohammed).
And at the same time, Zumbura has foreseen that Amina will have to defend her family and kingdom, but the price to fulfill this destiny will be very high.
So, I’m sorry if I mispronounced the name of the characters and actors. I’ll try my best, as always, but I think I didn’t nail the Nigerian pronunciation of names yet.
So now let’s begin!
One thing to notice is that some characters don’t have actual names, they are always called by the titles. So, Madaki is the Warlord, Sarki is the Chief, and Kabarkai… I don’t know. I couldn’t verify but, certainly has something to do with great warrior or something along those lines.
The movie is marketed as based on a true story, however, I think it’s only vaguely based. I would have to look into it further to be certain.
Regardless of historical accuracy, the movie is very entertaining and, as in the previous review, this movie also begins very intense with a fight, or in this case, several fights in the very beginning. And the whole movie is like that, packed with action and adventure.
I think this movie should have been a historical epic. The parallel I could think of is Kingdom of Heaven, starring Orlando Bloom, but honestly, didn’t get even close to Kingdom of Heaven, which is a shame, I must say!
And I think most of the failure on Amina’s part is because the movie is too fast-paced and choppy we seem to always going from one event to the other without any time to let things set in sink into our minds.
And that doesn’t happen only with the events, but with the characters, and the relationship between the characters. For example, there are many characters that didn’t develop properly, they have a lot of unfulfilled potential.
These characters include the Kabarkai, Zaria (Amina’s sister), and Danjuma (played by Ali Nuhu), who later becomes Amina’s love interest. A love that wasn’t developed at all, by the way. Suddenly they are in love, and that’s it!
None of these characters I mentioned are bad characters, they have the potential, they just weren’t developed.
Now, a character I actually didn’t like was the Madaki. Not because he was the villain, but because he was a basic villain, a cliché villain. There’s no nuance, he’s just there betraying and doing plots behind people’s backs, just a mustache-twisting villain.
I think Amina is the only character we actually have time to know better. Know her personality traits, her temperament, and also see more sides of her, like angry, happy, in love, etc.
But there’s also not much development. So, she’s a kid, she begins her training, we cut, and she’s an adult, and she’s ready with all her abilities as a warrior, and as a military commander. I think it would be great to see her develop more skills as a necessity when she faced some difficulty.
For example, the movie The King starring Timothée Chalamet. He’s not simply ready to take over, he’s faced with adversity and has to act on it, and develop skills, find a way to overcome his challenges. We got none of that with Amina. Her whole development is off camera.
Now, the acting is something that I often see very criticized on the internet and I disagree completely!
I’m not saying the acting is brilliant, it is not! But it’s quite fine, especially from the main actors.
The context must be taken into consideration. Not every country has the same style of acting, as not every era has the same style of acting. Imagine saying Bela Lugosi was a bad actor because his style of acting was different from today’s standard. It would be a stupid thing to say. Bela Lugosi was brilliant!
The same thing can be said about places. If you watch something from India you will be very different from Hollywood. And if you go further east, South Korea, for example, it will be different from Bollywood and Hollywood.
We don’t see people saying Squid Games or Parasite was s**t because it had bad acting, because the acting is different from the Hollywood standard. That would be stupid as well.
Some people assume that just because something is from Africa it’s worse, when that’s not the case at all. Just because something is different, and you’re not used to it it, doesn’t mean it’s inferior, it just means you have to get your head outside of your ass.
Anyway, the acting is not as bad as people claim to be.
Now, a thing I think lacked a little was the production design. Some of the costumes seem a little amaturish. And now, including settings and costumes, everything was too clean, too polished, and I think it needed more grit, more realism! I missed some of that.
And the score didn’t captivate me, it was kind of average, nothing special. Same with cinematography.
Amina has many problems, especially its fast-paced and choppy nature, but it’s entertaining enough, full of action. The potential was there, not much has come out of it, but it’s fine. I’ll give Amina 5 Moons!
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Thanks for watching see you in the next video.