Merry Men-The Real Yoruba Demons: A Review
Today isthe 5th of January, 2020 and after about a year of stalling, I have finally settled down to watch Merry Men. The procrastination, partly caused by reports from some of my friends who were early viewers calling the film all hype with nothing substantial and it being cinema money better spent on a second viewing of Avengers: Infinity War. Though, I am not as harsh as to label the film like the way my pals did, I did find a movie which was quite good, still with its flaws (as every other film) but more importantly, we see in Merry Men, a film that tells a robin hood-esque story about a group of men which is somewhat an unconventional story in the Nigeria film industry.
In summary, the film, set in Abuja, is about a clique of four rich friends, and their accomplices, who create an elaborate scheme to antagonize a notorious and corrupt politician who has a contract to build a super shopping mall in a village and in doing so, displace some of the locals leaving them homeless. The Merry Men faceoff with the politician while still being caught up in their own web of love, friendships and drama.
From this point onwards, we are diving into the film proper so for those who are still in their procrastination phase and have not seen the film yet, I can’t promise you anything. Beware the road from here won’t be easy for there’ll be spoilers ahead. First off, I would love to praise the acting performances of Ramsey Nouah and Ireti Doyle, they absolutely killed their roles; Ramsey brought depth to his character and Ireti with the MILF attitude did a pretty good work too. I can’t praise the rest of the cast though, there were some good and not so good moments but there was really no stellar performance from any. Falz was quite good with the tech savvy persona but occasionally, you’d notice no pop ups on the screen while tapping the keyboard, 😆 probably had something to do with the film editing.
Something that was prevalent in this film was the lack of coherency in the story. There was really no background story to really explain why the Merry Men do what they do, at some point, it felt like they just wanted bring down Chief Omole because they were spurned when the contract was given. I think a story should have been concocted to shed light on the motives of this clique, how they came to be, how Dera became part of their crew and why Ayo was giving off the whole ‘Scarface’ vibe and not wanting Naz to date his sister. I believe having something like this in the film would have made the audience more relatable with the Merry Men. Still on the whole back story thing, I feel they didn’t do justice to Jide Kosoko’s character, with the brief screen time he got, he killed that part being all dramatic, I feel if there was an award for best scene stealer I’d give it to him and whoever’s idea it was to use the POV of the ‘ladies’, you deserve better nkwobi and a chilled bottle of Hero. Chief Omole’s role should have been exploited more, I feel there should have been more screen time to really expose how rotten he was on the inside to the audience, to make him a worthy adversary and really justify the Merry Men taking law into their own hands. This would have been better if some scenes which were not integral to the story were cut and instead was used to throw more light on these characters. Scenes like Naz fighting at the bar and the other one that tried to show us that Ayo was Batman and could kick ass and had to go all the way to Garki to do it.
On a general level, I actually liked the film unlike the view of my friends. Some of the moments from the movie were cool and real funny, Ushbebe, AY and Falz made me laugh hard sometimes. I think my best was Ushbebe’s dialogue with Francis Duru’s character and it goes like this;
Francis Duru: Fancy Dresses. Expensive Attires. Diamonds. Jewels. Gold. You name it all. Take all that away, what is left?
Ushbebe: A sexy naked woman, Sir.
Inset is a gif of Robert Downey Jr. laughing like I did.
I can swear at that point that Kemi Adegbite’s chuckle was sincere and not being in character at all, that scene was really funny to me and the comedic flow felt natural, though there were other points in the film were it felt like they were over-stretching themselves thing with the comedy thing. I also had some unconventional laughs, one of which is the seemingly hi-tech earpiece that the Merry Men were using at Dame Maduka’s party, earpiece so lit that it is invisible, that whole act reminded me of Captain America’s Avengers Assemble whisper in the last stand against Thanos, and every other avenger’s reaction to it.
There was also the ‘shy’ bodyguard that tried to prevent Ayo from meeting the minister by keeping his arm outstretched and kept looking at the ground only God knows how long he was like that and there are also the ones of Falz tapping at the keyboard funnily, cracks me up every time 😂, you should check out the scene in their man-cave and when he tried to download the files from Dame’s laptop. Falz’s alter ego accent never gets old and it’s still funny af.
The film wasn’t strictly a bad film, as I previously thought and as of the time I wrote this, a sequel is actually showing in cinemas. Based on what I saw here, would I want to want watch it? Yes, definitely. Merry Men wasn’t all good or bad but it had it’s good moments, just like every other film and in a sequel, I’d love to see them give us a story with more depth, no derailments and a little suspense in the mix (and if possible maybe she’d more light on the beginnings of the Merry Men). I’d love to see Ireti Doyle go toe to toe with the Merry Men in the sequel, I’m sure she’ll do well in an antagonistic light. Maybe, they could have her use her influence and money to get herself out of jail, a small portrayal of what many of our politicians do, and then come back to wage war on the Merry Men.