Review by Augusta Okon
Nature’s unrivalled art of quintessence, a visually opulent sight depicted through its landscape and aquatic splendour, coupled with man’s creativity and productivity, intermittently pops up in the sights and sounds of the Streets of Calabar. Charles Aniagolu, former reporter International correspondent and news anchor for the BBC and CNN, unapologetically interweaves the story into a scenic haven synonymous with ‘The People’s Paradise’.
Chuks Oti (Anthony Ofoegbu of Bad Day) an illegal immigrant with a knack for scams has been deported from London to his homeland, Nigeria. He tries to erk a living with his second chance at freedom, after being let out of jail . His girlfriend Margaret (Lisa kill) vows to stand by him as he weathers the turbulent storm of life. He relocates to Calabar seeking a fresh start. He meets his friend, Mike (Wale Ojo of Phone Swap) his ex-colleague in the notorious life of deception, who sells the tempting idea of hitting it big once more via the crooked path. All they have to do, is to carry out a job for the fearful dreaded arms and drug leader D-don, who hides his identity behind a mask. His cruelty, merciless execution to those who dare cross his path says it all.
Life is hard and two detectives (keppy and Maynard) from the Calabar Metropolitan Force, coerce both friends to be the rats in D-don’s nest in-order to bring him down. There’s Sly (Rita Dominic of Shattered and Best Actress AMAA 2012) an alluring woman, with a time bomb personality and aggressive sexuality with links to D-don. The stage is set and with D-don’s men on their heels spiced up with a couple of Cameroonian bad boys in the picture…. the action starts…. or so we think…
Streets of Calabar, from the media hype promises to deliver an explosive action packed, fast paced movie. Its prime location is the ancient capital of Cross River and the Calabar carnival adds a savoury taste to its appeal. However, the dearth of creativity in weaving the story into this international event, save for the simulacrum of Fela’s performance with quite a respectful number of people at the stadium, spoke volumes. The action scenes could have been interwoven in the scenes of the carnival’s parade, which would have added thrills to certain lack lustre scenes. A good cue to learn from is ‘stolen’ starring Nicholas Cage. The witch doctor’s scene was not necessary, invariably reminding us of the diabolic nature synonymous with African culture and had no bearing whatsoever with the intrigues of the movie, thus it ought to have been deleted, and if the director had a soft spot for that scene, he ought to have reserved such for the director’s cut on DVD.
Not much was really seen of Sly, a lid having been placed on her dexterity, no small thanks to the laid back role. D-don’s revealing transformation was rather sloppy. It was obvious that vital factors such as skin colour, height, facial features, physique and the transformation itself were not carefully considered at all. What should have been a good climax ended up playing to the gallery of ludicrousness. Action scenes?, well with such kindergarten execution, such could be considered as mere child’s play. If you don’t have the resources to create realistic action scenes, then don’t shoot such!. The flick suffers from the ‘laughter scarcity’, a huge disappointment to the comically inclined movie peeps. Besides the good cinematography, sound, and editing, the story with dominant unappealing scenes derived from a water shed plot, flattens out half way through the visual journey, making, Streets of Calabar at best a ‘film tourism based movie’ selling the sights and sounds of the state to the millions.
Rating : 2
Rating Guide :
5 : Classic
4: Very good
3 : Good
1: An Apology