Kemi Adetiba’s King of Boys sequel landed to a lot of cheers and applause. It landed in a mega way too – it is now a 7 episode limited series! What greater news could she give the many fans of KOB. The 27th August launch of the series on Netflix had been greatly anticipated, the alluring trailers released added more to this. There’s no doubt Kemi knows her onions, since her debut in Hollywood with The Wedding Party, she has raised the bar for the industry with her quality movies.
So how did Return of the King fare? It is doing very well, since its release on Netflix, it has remained No1 on Nigerian Netflix. A large number of people watched it on the release day, I did too, as a matter of fact, I finished the series the same day, watching until 4 am. You know I’ll share my opinion about it, right? Remember I’m not a film critique, I’m just a blogger who loves talking about her interests.
Laburu has landed indeed
Businesswoman Eniola Salami returns to Nigeria after a five-year exile eager to mete out punishments to her adversaries. We got to meet the main character – Eniola Salami in the prequel of this series. Eniola – passionately played by Sola Sobowale – had to flee the country after she was disgraced by Makanaki and Aare. Makanaki not only outplayed her but was also involved in the death of her 2 children.
The series starts with the return of Eniola following a state pardon by the Federal Government. That’s how you make your presence known, by aspiring for the highest office in the state. Eniola had in the prequel showed interest in politics, that ambition was the beginning of the end for her. What better way to make the impact of her return felt than by announcing she is running for Governor of Lagos State – that’s how stars do 😎. Whilst in exile, she had made stronger political ties and was in bed with more powerful people making this ambition plausible. She came prepared, I loved all her speeches and response to interviews.
I enjoyed the slow pace of the series opener. We met a calmer and more intentional Eniola Salami. Kudos to the director – Kemi – for toning Sola Sobowale’s usually uber-emotional acting down. I appreciate the inner struggle Eniola was going through, the genuine struggle to do things differently, her seeking redemption. Seeing her vulnerability made her character more realistic.
Sola Sobowale is Eniola Salami and Eniola Salami is Sola Sobowale! The casting was brilliant, starting with the lead character. Sola Sobowale was made for this role, and it’s always a delight to watch her interpret the role. Eniola Salami – from my understanding of the character – is a very passionate woman, Sola interpreted the passion perfectly. I didn’t get the self harm though 🤨.
Toni Tones was in her element, as was Lanre Hassan (Iya Awero). Top on my favourites list still remains Otunba, played by Akin Lewis, he just nailed his portrayal of a grassroots political god-father. I’ll miss him in the series.
The new characters all carried their weight in the series. Nse, Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, Bimbo Manuel and the slimy Priest – RMD were all in their element. RMD was as slimy as fake Men of God come, and his annoying fake laugher, brilliant. Efa Iwara as Dapo Banjo, I’m not sure what to say about this one. Efa immersed himself in the character enough but the character just did not resonate with me.
The underworld men were not impressive! Odubariba 😁- Charly Boy was not commanding enough as the top Underworld Kingpin trying to usurp power. I love the name though. The other men were worse. The gang members all did well, which brings me to the gentle giant – Ade Tiger with his beguiling manner. I really liked this character and look forward to seeing more of him. We got a bit of his back story but it’ll be interesting to see more of him, especially his relationship with the new maid – Agnes. I’m sure there’s more to her.
Kemi did an awesome job with the dialogue for a 7 episode mini-series, especially been a first-timer. It was engaging and convincing enough. However, whilst the proverbs were refreshing, they were a tad bit too much! Movies should be entertaining, relaxing and quite educative, but not so much that you’re grabbing a Yoruba dictionary or an elder to interpret.
Apart from that, I really enjoyed the lines, it was one slam dunk after another. “Ade Tiger, never you talk business in front of civilians again” yayyyy. Oba’s response to Nse’s character after giving her an offer to quit the race was everything! “Asho tie le, o gba biro mu bieni pe ofe fakoyo, ashe owo ipapanu lowo e” choi! That was epic. There were so many memorable lines, that was cool.
Kemi’s artistry also shone in this aspect of the film as it was obvious that nothing was overlooked. The outfits were brilliant. The light was obviously on Eniola Salami as the lead. I especially loved all the costumes by Abaya Lagos. The costumes spoke power and wealth. Some of the outfits were a little too costumey, but I’ll let them pass. Nse and Taiwo Ajai-Lycett also looked good.
The women always take the shine in these matters, however, we noticed the men too, RMD’s proves were the obvious ones, Ade Tiger also had some interesting outfits.
The cinematography was good enough. Most scenes looked right. However, the lighting in some scenes was a bit off, especially in eerie scenes and club scenes. The attempt to make it gloomy or dark was slightly over the top. Apart from that, it was okay.
The soundtrack was awesome! You know I’m a mumu (fool) for a good soundtrack right… Ah, Kemi did well here.
What I liked
One of the best things that King of Boys has going for it as far as I’m concerned is that it has a strong female lead. We live in a patriarchal world, and a lot is being done to change the status quo. However we need more, movies like this are refreshing as they lend a voice to this struggle.
I love the struggle between good and evil as portrayed by Eniola Salami. She came back a broken woman, who wouldn’t be after losing two children! In this case, she was partly responsible for their death, the guilt she would carry forever. I appreciated her anguish which made her seek a fresh start, a clean start. However, for someone who had lived a life as dark as she had lived, it was a little too late for redemption. It required the kind of patience that someone who has lived on the fast and dark lane like Eniola was too restless to give. I could feel her grief and struggle.
I also appreciated the power and political play. Power and politics are played at the highest stakes, it involves strange alliances, betrayals and deception. A dog eats dog scenario where the winner takes all. We got all that and in good doses too. Kemi showed an understanding of power and politics. Enemies conniving, slimy men of the clothe, bribery, blackmail, loyalty with (Ade Tiger), betrayal (Mr Mogaji), it’s all there.
What I didn’t like
Return of the King was a very successful series but there were a few things I did not like. 1st on my list is the return of Makanaki. Although I’m not surprised he returned, as I pointed out in the prequel review, his death was too easy! What is Makanaki coming back for, he wasn’t that formidable as a character for that dramatic return! The attempt to make his return as sinister as possible didn’t do it for me either. His scenes were the ones I struggled to enjoy. I was actually hoping her daughter would be brought back but we got Makanaki instead 😛.
I also didn’t think the conspiracy Ife Iwara was working on was that crucial to warrant all the drama around it. The letter bomb, being hunted by the secret service and having to go into exile – on top wetin! The conspiracy should’ve been something weightier, maybe I’ve just read too many Frederick Forsyte, Sheldon books for my own good🤷🏾♀️.
Oba didn’t do well by Odogwo Malay, that pained me but it’s a crime series so such should be expected
That said, King of boys was a good watch, the director did a good job in making every episode as engaging as possible. I look forward to the next series which I’m sure will be even better. I’m off to watch the Smart Money woman. Oh, by the way, the scene before the credits where the nurse struts into Otunba’s quarters in a sexy nurse outfit, 🙄 really!