King of Boys: The Return of the King Review

Tolulope Ebiseni
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With the release of “King of Boys: The Return of the King” and its cult following, Eniola Salami is fast becoming one of the most iconic characters ever written in  Nollywood. It is really no surprise there, the enigma, Sola Sobowale is a master at swaying the audience with her emotions; you share in her grief, anger and even her power— for a moment, we are all Eniola Salamis.

After a five-year exile, Eniola’s kingdom is none existent. Her return not only rattles her enemies but births new ones, her decision to run for the most coveted position in the state is threatened by new characters, Odudubariba (Charly Boy) and Jumoke Randle, the first lady of Lagos State (played by Nse Ikpe Etim).

The series is a political thriller and satire in all its entirety, but what stood out most in its story is the turmoil Eniola suffers within while grieving her loss. The self-harm scenes are painfully difficult to watch. There is a power tussle between Eniola’s dark side and the new person Eniola hopes she can be, in order to attain redemption.

The new show signals Kemi Adetiba growth as a filmmaker, the director’s ability to create visually stunning scenes with intense violence and ghastly stunts improve by the day. For example, a shootout at ”the table” with the mesmerizing shared dialogue with older and younger Eniola proves my point; even the dead could get excited by this show of brilliance and sheer genius of the director.

KOB is a cluster of exciting scenes and dialogue aided by the writer’s use of Yoruba idioms and proverbs. Apart from the scenes shared by Toni Tones and Sola Sobowale which is arguably the best part of the show, Nse’s Character, Jumoke Randle, marked with poise and cunning demeanor, is one the best supporting performances in the show. In actuality, Jumoke and Eniola are women from similar backgrounds but with different tempos. Their nuanced reactions and display are just like fire and gasoline.

Makanaki’s return as teased by the director is devious and villainous but the director has more tricks up her sleeves. watch out!

The show will cause a ruckus during award season. Toni Tones will have you at the edge of your seat begging for more. Nse Ikpe Etim shines in ways you’ve known her for, she delivers yet another terrific performance that leaves us in awe. The King herself, Sola Sobowale delivers the best performance of her career; powerfully crafted, emotion-inducing and the best of the best. Several other actors brought their A-game as usual— RMD, Ill Bliss, Reminisce, Efa Iwara, Akin Lewis, Titi Kuti (Ade Tiger) and alas, Taiwo Ajayi-Lycett scene-stealing performance.

As cleverly made as this franchise has turned out to be, one minor defect has stood out—“King of Boys” starts to seem stretched and needlessly long. Even though Kemi Adetiba creates a more engaging and nifty story than the former, the introduction of strong new characters also brought few needless characters, subplots and sometimes a stretched dialogue. Regardless, a wounded lion is a lion.

“KOB: Return of the King” is a carefully curated and poignant film assisted by jaw-dropping performances from its impressive cast. It showcases Kemi Adetiba’s growth as a filmmaker and it signals hope for the future of Nollywood.

Tolulope Ebiseni

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Occasional writer, Cinephile and critic.

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