By Onochie Onyekwena
Jagun Jagun: Not Yet There, But Worth The Try
Jagun Jagun: The Warrior is the latest Nigerian film on NETFLIX. The epic, which is directed by Tope Adebayo and Adebayo Tijani, is the first Nigerian film I have seen featuring two directors.
Jagun Jagun narrates the story of Ogundiji, a warrior renowned for his courage, immense physical abilities, and supernatural powers. Apart from being a formidable combatant, he plays the role of both a mentor to aspiring warriors and a protector of various realms. The film also delves into the journey of Gbotija, portrayed by Lateef Adedimeji, a determined trainee fighter aspiring to become a warrior akin to his mentor. Gbotija belongs to the lineage of the “tree people,” a group with mystical connections to trees.
Jagun Jagun falls short of being exceptional, yet it manages to provide a decent level of entertainment. While the narrative holds merit, its presentation lacks coherence due to inconsistent plot progression and editing. Despite the story’s captivating nature—crafted by Femi Adebayo, also the actor portraying Ogundiji—it successfully captivates the audience throughout the movie’s duration. However, the frequent shifts in focus within the story might lead to viewer confusion. Certain instances make it quite challenging to discern which characters demand the audience’s attention.
Despite Gbotija being the central protagonist, the narrative continuously shifts its focus away from him, preventing us from delving deeply into the connections he shares with certain secondary characters. For instance, the film does not allocate sufficient time to explore Gbotija’s romantic involvement with Kiran (portrayed by Bukunmi Oluwashina), who is Ogundiji’s daughter. Additionally, the surrogate father-son dynamic between Gbotija and Gbogunmi, one of Ogundiji’s most formidable warriors (played by Ibrahim Yekini Itele), remains underdeveloped. Consequently, the audience doesn’t develop a strong emotional investment in the fate of this warrior as the story progresses.
Adeoluwa Onu deserves commendation for the exceptional camera work showcased in Jagun Jagun. The film boasts remarkable shots and angles that certainly warrant praise. Furthermore, the fight choreography is deserving of recognition; although it might not reach the intricate level seen in John Wick, it remains captivating and enjoyable to observe.
Adedimeji delivers an impressive performance in Jagun Jagun, and I would affirm that the dedication and even the challenges he faced while portraying his character were justified. The overall acting quality is neither mediocre nor outstanding, falling somewhere in between.
In summary, Jagun Jagun stands as a respectable movie that holds its ground on Netflix as a Nigerian production. However, it still accentuates the deficiencies present in its screenplay.