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Netflix’s “Lionheart” Is Not A Terrible Movie, It’s Just Not A Great Movie

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What we have all been waiting for finally happened. Netflix finally released their first African Original movie in the form of Lionheart. The film is directed by and stars Genevieve Nnaji of Nollywood fame. I mean pick any five African movies and I can guarantee you will find Nnaji in at least one of them. I know you know her and you have watched an African movie at some point.

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Anyway the movie was released onto Netflix on 4 January and finally ZESA allowed me to watch it this weekend. If you are wondering what the hype is all about consider this: Not only is it the first Netflix African original, it’s the first African movie to be distributed exclusively on Netflix, the first one where real Nigerians get to speak in their own accents and languages without Hollywood butchering these and the first one where Africa is just the setting and not some poverty stricken rat hole which needs saving by a white knight in shinning armour.

Anyway although I enjoyed the film I must say I found parts of it a little underwhelming. While Nnaji and her equally famous costars including Nkem Owoh are amazing the script is just a let down. Do not get me wrong the feminist nature of the movie itself is commendable but it is the business centred theme that a lot of people are going to have a hard time resonating with.

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I have a business degree and most of the ideas expressed in this movie are shall I say dubious. The actors are clearly out of their depth and show that they have zero idea what they are saying during these business dialogues. Some of the business ideas being touted as brilliant innovations are anything but. In fact things like market research form part of the mundane staple of what businesses do.

This means people who come from the business world like me are unlikely to be impressed. On the other hand people not familiar with business goings are also going to be equally disappointed. Unless you are Bernie Madoff you are not going to make an interesting villain and Kanayo O. Kanayo is no different.

It’s hard to hate him when he lays out his evil scheme to take over Lionheart-a merger and board room coup!

Other than that Lionheart is a good movie it’s just not great. Some scenes are rather flat although you will be treated to the glory shots of picturesque parts of Nigeria. The older actors deliver their lectures in some form of poetic metre which makes you want to get into your TV and slap them. I hate it when people do that you know. It makes them look condescending rather than wise. At least in my own view.

If you have Netflix I suggest you make a date with Lionheart.


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11 thoughts on “Netflix’s “Lionheart” Is Not A Terrible Movie, It’s Just Not A Great Movie

  1. I’ve only watched the trailer and I think I see what you mean. They could have given it a more fantastical / comedic spin to make the plot more believable. However it is a great start to bringing African movies to the world.

  2. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. It was something but not quite what I expected. Could it have been more? – YES.

  3. I find it embarrassing that all you saw in this movie were the feminist undertons and just business. Lionheart is statement that shouldn’t be reduced to just that. There obviously were so many narratives highlighted and re-written in the movie that you somehow turned a blind eye on while focusing on just business; there was the inter-ethnic distrust, the true meaning of the word ‘team’, the glaring showcase of dialect and heritage, Trust amongst family to mention a few. I, at first also questioned the business scenes in the movie but finally jumped on board in the end. Unlike you, I only found Peter Okoye’s promise of 500m both dubious and totally irrelevant.

    1. I saw the supposed culture clashes and I feel they were a little too stereotypical. I forgave the film for this. At times the scenes feel a little disjointed and you can tell Nnaji is still getting used to being behind the camera. The thing is Africa already has better films than this if you sample iRoku or watch Tsotsi for example. I would be lying if I didn’t point out Lionheart is a little rough on the edges. All we are saying it’s a commendable effort but Nnaji can do better.

  4. To me this review feels a tad bit too harsh, the movie really thrives on many other aspects other than the business side and i personally applaud their effort to step out of Nigerian movies stereotypes. Its a great movie to step into Netflix for an African and I believe this is what is called a feel good movie with bits of comedy in it that make it good to watch.

    1. Yeah maybe after watching thousands of hours of various stuff ever since I was born, I am prolific at this stuff having grown up on the teat of Astra paints sponsored movies and never stopped, I somehow have lost my kindness along the way. I am not saying this movie is garbage- I am saying it is much like Cameroon’s Avater a groundbreaking but lackluster movie.

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