One of things I clearly love in the movie “Lion Heart” is the way Genevieve Nnaji carries herself – the calm and grace. But the movie didn’t reach its potential – I have expected the story to have some depth – for a movie bought by Neflix and with the ‘hype’ surrounding it too.
The plot opens with Adaeze – played by Genevieve Nnaji, (a role I thought was played too safe), trying to resolve an issue involving a group of area boys protesting at the premises of Lion Heart. She manages to keep things under control . An Idea, the writers have established to show how competent Adaeze is, and whose execution is a tad awkward.
Not long after this scene, her father (Pete Edochie) falls ill and has to leave his business, which is in trouble, in the hands of his brother, Godswill played by Nkem Owoh. Having worked for Lion Heart long enough to understand the business quite well, Adaeze believes she is supposed to be the successor not her uncle. These are scenes trying to give us some depth into how the ‘boy child’ in Igboland is placed way above the girl child. A very subtle feminist undertones, dealing with sexism as it concerns female competence and leadership.
For a movie centred on the idea of ‘family business’, their dialogue on business is shallow and unbelievable; as if they are trying to avoid talking about it. And when they did talk about it, Godswill seems to only make jokes; he lacked the very vigor of one who was there to take the company out of trouble. However, the story line isn’t same cliché power tussle and rivalry between siblings with one of them conniving to take over the company. A plot Nollywood often panders to us. Though Godswill is a bit more comical for the role he played, the comic moments aren’t unforced, and is easy to chuckle to.
But in all, Lion Heart is a fun movie, and a feel good one. And many Igbos could relate to all the Igbo slurs. A good portion of the dialogue in the movie is in Igbo – with subtitles – a display of the rich Igbo culture, food and music is everything authentic.
The cinematography is so breathtaking and depicts Enugu so appropriately in ways we didn’t expect but really loved. The shots displays Enugu in its glory; the green hills and red dusty roads, and captures the local feel and look. One of the finest moments is the dinner scene, where the Obiagu’s family gathers to eat a variety of native delicacies communicating to each other fully in Igbo with no English in-between.. A moment that is so natural and unforgettable and authentic leaving one proud of his/her Igbo identity. Though they are forgettable moments, the times when the Igbo Pop stars – Phyno and Psquare – make appearances in the movie with bland acting.
Lion heart, easily could have been everything we want it to be, but it wasn’t. More work should have been done on the screenplay, the villains weren’t quite well formed,there were a lot of convenient coincidences, the dialogues were more generic and the story lacked a little more depth. The writers played it too safe and lazy. It didn’t quite reach its potential; the way I have imagine and expect Lion Heart to turn out– the first Nollywood movie globally praised and bought by Netflix. I hope she, Genevieve, cares to get better in her next movie.