Nollywood has decided they won’t let us rest with movie remakes and we’re not really here for it. Led by Charles Okpaleke of Play Network, aka Charles of Play, it seems like every year since 2019, we’ve been introduced to one remake or the other of our favourite Nollywood classics.
While some have been successful, others have had us ready to throw hands, and with the release of Netflix’s Glamour Girls, I felt it necessary to rank these remakes.
5. Glamour Girls (2022) — Bunmi Ajakaiye
Remember when Chief Daddy 2 came out and we all thought it was the worst thing out of Nollywood? Well, they said, “You haven’t seen anything yet,” and pushed out Glamour Girls. A directionless remake of the 1994 classic starring Liz Benson, Eucharia Anunobi and Zack Orji, this version exchanges a seductive plot and good acting for a ton of Larry Gaga songs, badly laid wigs and terrible audio.
Like the original, it follows the lives of high-class sex workers led by
Oloture Sharon Ooja, Nse Ikpe Etim, Joselyn Dumas and Toke Makinwa. This film was neither funny, suspenseful nor smart — three things it tried to be. I only watched for the plot — Joselyn Dumas and Lynxx playing a couple I’d like to infiltrate. But even that wasn’t enough.
Then there’s the frustrating final scene with the multiple USBs that was giving women in tech. Look, Glamour Girls will go down in history as the worst Nollywood remake of all time, and it deserves it.
4. Aki and Paw Paw (2021) — Biodun Stephen
Chinedu Ikedieze and Osita Iheme are Nollywood icons, period! And with the internet rediscovering their classics thanks to all the memes on social media, I wasn’t surprised when a remake of their 2003 debut, Aki Na Ukwa, was announced.
Weaving their newfound social media popularity into Aki and Paw Paw was a brilliant idea. However, the film failed to explore the story beyond the shallow drama, leaving its audience disappointed. For a comedy that features OGs like Chinedu, Osita, Toyin Abraham and Warri Pikin, I expected to laugh like crazy, but omo, I just kept staring at the screen like, “What am I doing here?”
My faves deserved better and that’s the hill I’m willing to die on.
3. Nneka the Pretty Serpent (2020) — Tosin Igho
The soundtrack and mediocre acting in this film still haunt me. Nneka the Pretty Serpent was the movie that made me realise it’s time for us to come together as a people and stop Charles of Play. In this remake of the 1994 film, Idia Aisien plays Nneka, a young woman possessed by a snake (duh!) and motivated by a mysterious female figure to kill a couple of people in creative ways. The film also features Bimbo Ademoye, Kenneth Okolie and Bovi, none of whom could save it.
While I was living for Idia’s karate skills, her acting was as exciting as watching paint dry. Also, I don’t speak Igbo, but even I knew something about her pronunciations was off. Tosin Igho killed it with the visuals, especially the underwater snake possession scene. But what kills me is that Nneka the Pretty Serpent could’ve easily been a major feminist revenge thriller. Instead, it was a forgettable snoozefest.
2. Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story (2020) — Ramsey Nouah
Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story is the best remake we’ve seen when it comes to storytelling strength. Introducing underrated actors like Stan Nze and Bucci Franklin to a wider audience, this heist turned revenge thriller also featured Osas Ighodaro, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde and Ramsey Nouah, making another cameo as discount Nick Fury.
My expectations were through the roof coming off from Living in Bondage: Breaking Free, and Ramsey Nouah delivered once again. Was this film perfect? No. But it felt different because it had properly developed and portrayed characters.
1. Living in Bondage: Breaking Free (2019) — Ramsey Nouah
A sequel to the 1992 Kenneth Nnebue classic, Living in Bondage: Breaking Free was the first major production from Charles of Play and his best to date. Led by the incredible performance of newcomer, Swanky JKA, the film brought something new to the Nollywood trope of the broke-ass guy willing to sacrifice his loved ones for some dollars.
Living in Bondage: Breaking Free works well thanks to Ramsey Nouah’s brilliant direction and the actors’ obvious commitment to their roles. It gave what it was supposed to give. At this point, is it safe to assume the only Nollywood remakes that work are those directed by Ramsey Nouah?
Then again, this film is the root of our problems because if it didn’t kill it at the box office, Charles wouldn’t have been inspired to start this annoying remake mission.