Film review: ‘I’ll Take My Chances’ – All dressed up with nowhere to go

by Wilfred Okiche

At some point, this idea must have read great on paper. Only somewhere between conception and execution, the best parts were left out, leaving us with a tedious affair that just struggles to get by.

 The Royal Arts Academy need no introduction to a Nollywood faithful. Over the years, the outfit has managed to carve it’s own niche, making movies that are widely considered to be elevated versions of the average Nollywood fare.

Having said that, the latest offering from the studio, ‘I’ll Take My Chances’ goes to places uncharted and underserved by Nollywood. It is a dance drama set in the hills of Akwa Ibom State and explores the age-old rift between tradition and religion, the archaic and the enlightened as seen through the eyes of two star-crossed lovers.

Idare (played with doe-eyed simplicity by Ini Edo) is not the average village girl growing up in the countryside. She is given to lapsing into a spontaneous trance whenever she hears the beating of a particular drum and surrenders herself to dancing rapturously to the beat. Can you blame her father (Sam Loco Efe) for suspecting the supernatural and insisting she visit the local deity where she is quickly branded the next priestess? Can you also blame her mother who fights tooth and nail to avoid such a fate for her daughter?

Throw in a handsome youth corps member/dancer just returning from his studies in the USA who has been posted to the idyllic village and the film becomes a romance flick.

At some point, this idea must have read great on paper. Only somewhere between conception and execution, the best parts were left out, leaving us with a tedious affair that just struggles to get by.

Desmond Elliott is at the helm and while his direction is smooth and exciting at some points, the clunky screenplay defeats him. It moves at a leaden pace, does not quite know what to do with itself and becomes stuck in limbo between the both genres it attempts to conquer.

Visually, there are some high notes; the peaceful, stunning marvel of nature in the Akwa Ibom hills is captured deftly on camera and you might find yourself booking the next flight (or bus).

Bryan Okwara,  ex Mr Nigeria provides eye candy for the ladies and is even generous enough to take his shirt off. The male folks have the gorgeous Ini Edo to seduce them with her impressive traditional dance moves, especially in the last scene where she makes those suggestive gestures with her body.

With her huge (albeit sexy) eyeballs staring out of an inexpressive face, Ini is the perfect haunted soul. Only after all that staring, at some point, she is actually required to act and we all know she is in dire need of an acting coach. When she is not overacting and screaming, she is not acting at all. Her dancing is miles ahead but when Bryan calls her the best dancer on the planet, it makes for some head scratching moments.

Bryan fares better as he is quite believable in an easy role and makes the most of it. The late Sam Loco Efe provides some spark as the stubborn father but he has done this same act before.

Like all movies from the Royal Arts Academy stable, an unnecessary and untidy sub-plot is introduced and it leads to an ending that is clumsily tied together.

We understand that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king but as it stands now the stakes are much higher. Brilliant young film makers are stepping up big time and even the old ones are upping their game and reinventing themselves. For the continued relevance of Royal Arts Academy, they need to do a lot more than ‘I’ll Take My Chances.’

We deserve better than this–and so do they.

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Comments (14)

  1. to speak or not to speak that is the question… my sentiments about the movie have already been aired by some so I shan't restate it and sound redundant. Needless to say… I agree with the person who says that most online reviews are used to grind personal axes though

  2. dnt kia wot any1 tinks bou d movie!! i soo badly wanna watch it. dy shld upload dis movie onlyn. aint in nigeria, nowia 2 buy it. plx, upload it on irokotv!!!

  3. I dunno y dis movie is nt stil onlyn! bin tryn 2 watch it 4 lng. y'ol shld upload it online or beta stil, a websyt dt shows nigerian movies, lyk irokotv!

  4. Why do RAA members always play defensive when they get a bad review? They did the same to Cheta Nwanze of 243Next newspapers and they are at it again. Take the good reviews with the bad ones and move on. You sold out in UYO? Then next time release only in Uyo for goodness sake. Stop trying to intimidate educated people into liking you. Your films have their audience so ignore please

  5. These I'll take my chances producers coming here to post under various names are just miserable. Miserable fucks. It was a f**king bad film that's what the reviewer thinks – stop wasting time here and go and get better!

    1. @Olar, why are you so angry? Is anyone in competition with you? If you dont like the film, others did so stop coming here on a smear campaign to rubbish other peoples works. The so-called 'critics' went and panned the Hollywood film, 'This is War' and I took a chance and watched it… its was lovely, awesome and I will watch it again. I think you should leave others to form their own opinion instead of being in a hurry to pan other people's works. Like the Ghanaian girl said Nigerians are their own worst enemies! Full of hatred and beef against others making impact in their field! Sheeesh!

  6. @Wilfred Okiche. I googled your name and found nothing noteworthy. I have learnt with time that most ONLINE reviews of Nigerian movies are used to grind personal axes with producers or actresses etc, so if it's not from a credible source, preferably print, I find out about the writer first. And this time it's an unknown Wilfred. Sorry sugar, I'll still go watch the movie and decide for myself. The only online source I would trust is Bellanaija.

  7. @becky, so why do you keep watching them? It doesn't make sense to me. I am Ghanaian and I love Emem's movies and other Nigerian films. Is Kiss and tell on DVD? because it isn't in Ghana. I'd love to watch it. I wish they would also bring I'll take my chances to our cinemas. Nigerians, you people need to learn some self love. To appreciate the people who are working hard in your country no matter how small you think their talent is. To celebrate them, that's the only way you in turn can be celebrated and they can also improve. Your reviews and comments sound like you're happy the movie wasn't good. Being bitter and angry will only keep you down. I'll pray for you Becky. It's the least I can do as a favour from one sister to another. Be blessed dear.

  8. We are waiting for the 'brilliant young film makers' to come o! And they should be ready to 'bring it' because no one gives you anything on a platter of gold!

  9. This movie sold out in and is still selling in Uyo! I can attest to that! You guys should commend the producers for bringing a new dimension to Nollywood, which is dance! I love the movie and Bryan is a beefcake! Yummy! Kudos to the producers!

  10. The film was not that bad! Haba! Dont knock these people's hustle! To me its better than most of the pornographic, useless Ghanaian films out there and those fake, idumota fare! A very brilliant attempt by Emem, Ini & Desmond

  11. i completely agree with you. royal arts haven't produced any film i actually liked. kiss and tell, memories of my heart, and all their films r really shallow and crappy. it's even like the alaba marketers have more interesting stroylines. we need good filmmakers like amaka igwe, zeb ejiro, tunde kelani, izu ojukwu. emem's story are very typical and seem like they r plagiarized from romance novels. i haven't been confident enough to go to a cinema and watch a nigerian movie, i'd rather wait and pay for dvd or get to see movies free on my virgin atlantic flight. nigerian films r tedious to watch. really! i didn't expect much from this movie. ini as a dancer…please what were they thinking and bryan's acting was atrocious.sorry u wasted ur money.

  12. It was sheer waste of money for me and the other 17 persons @ d genesis deluxe cinema on Saturday! So poor the attendance also confirms it!!! It is one over hyped movie. I honestly cannot recommend it to anyone to go watch. The storyline is wack, trust they can do better next time.

    1. Funny you should say this when it was sold out at SilverBird Uyo with the queue running for miles! Who knows? Maybe they have better taste there that you! #JustSaying

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail