Lionheart is an example of what excellence in Nollywood looks like.
What happens when a lady faced with a daunting challenge must prove herself and the faith placed on her by her father in a male-dominated industry amidst bitter rivals both within and without?
Last year, Netflix bought Genevieve Nnaji’s movie, Lionheart, which made the movie the first Netflix original film from Nigeria, and with the buzz it generated, viewers couldn’t wait to have a feel of it.
The veteran Nollywood actress, Genevieve Nnaji made her directorial debut with the movie, Lionheart. She plays the part of Adaeze, the daughter of Chief Obiagu (Pete Edochie) and logistics manager of her family’s transportation business. In an unfortunate incident during the pitch for the BRT system (Bus Rapid Transit) contract for Enugu state, Chief Obiagu suffers a heart attack which makes it impossible for him to continue piloting the affairs of the company.
Expecting to be made the acting MD in place of her father, she’s disappointed to see her father name his old-fashioned brother, Godswill (Nkem Owo), as the acting head. This leads to a family tension that makes the story even more compelling. However, the clock is ticking and the two must work together to save the company from bankruptcy with the ruthless competitor, Igwe Pascal (Kanayo O. Kanayo) circling for the kill.
Although the movie is centered on the financial troubles of the Lionheart Transport Company, it tells more on the importance of family, the need for togetherness, of preserving legacy and of the wisdom of the aged. And importantly, the need for unity among tribes and ethnic groups in Nigeria.
Very notable in the movie was the promotion of Innoson Motors, a car manufacturing company in the heart of Igbo land, and also the display of local dance cultures as seen in Chief Obiagu’s retirement party and delicacies as seen during the family dinner eaten with love, laughter and happiness. However, what stood out was the use of veteran actors in the industry such as Pete, Kanayo and Nkem Owoh mixed with completely new faces such as Phyno (the Igbo rap god) and Peter Okoye (of the defunct P-Square) to produce an excellent display of storytelling.
For many, what may stand out for them is a phrase at the board meeting that announced the merger between Lionheart and Maikano Motors. Genevieve’s rival colleague, Sam ()Your continued stay is an extension of your irrelevance
There’s no doubt that more could have been done in terms of the tensions between characters but as a comic movie, it was a story well told.
Director: Genevieve Nnaji
Writers: Genevieve NNaji, Chinny Onwugbenu, C.J. Obasi, Ishaya Bako, Emil Garuba.
Stars: Genevieve Nnaji, Nkem Owoh, Pete Edochie, Onyeka Onwenu, Dika Ofoma, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Onyeka Onwenu.
Running Time: 1h 34m
Year of Release: 2018
Languages: English Language, Igbo language