Movie Review: Living In Bondage (Breaking Free)

November 15, 2019

I remember rolling my eyes so hard they almost got lost in the back of my head the first time I heard Ramsey Nouah was spearheading the production for a sequel to the Nollywood classic, Living In Bondage. Other than it seeming like a shameless cash grab, I saw no reason for it. Up until I was seated in the theatre, waiting for the movie to start, I was willing to bet my testicles that it was going to be bad.

I’m just happy I didn’t place that bet because it would’ve been “bye bye, nuts.

The opening scene sets the tone for the rest of the movie.

It starts with an aerial shot of a car driving through a winding bush path, while all that can be heard is the voice of a little girl singing an eerie Igbo folk song. When the car comes to a halt, the driver is revealed to be a man named Obinna Omego (played by Enyinna Nwigwe). He has driven his daughter to the middle of a forest with the promise of showing her a waterfall. He tells her to close her eyes in preparation for the surprise. When she does this, he beheads her.

The movie’s writing team (Nicole Asinugo and C.J. Obasi) took advantage of the original movie’s pop culture juggernaut status by not including flashbacks or time-consuming exposition from its characters. Whether or not you’ve seen the original, the second Andy Okeke appears onscreen (played by Kenneth Okonkwo), you just know that he’s someone important to the plot.

Solid direction, production design, and music (it actually has its own OST album) aside, one thing that sets this movie apart is the performances. Relatively unknown actor, Swanky JKA, leads the cast with a tour de force performance as Nnamdi Okeke (the son of the first movie’s protagonist). A performance that’s sure to catapult him to A-list status. His chemistry with his cousin, Toby (played by Shawn Faqua) and his love interest, Kelly (played by rapper and former MBGN, Munachi Abii) was so intense and believable that when the time came for the character to pick which loved one he wanted to sacrifice, I was hella stressed.

Veteran actor and first-time director, Ramsey Nouah, proved that multi-tasking is no herculean task for him as he expertly switched between directing the movie and playing the character of Richard Williams, an enigmatic, world-class billionaire and spiritual leader of the occult group known as The Six. His performance is reminiscent of Al Pacino’s as John Milton/Satan in 1997’s The Devil’s Advocate.

The only weak links in the cast are Kenneth Okonkwo (whose acting seemingly hasn’t evolved in the last 27 years) and David Jones David, whose performance as Uzoma, the nuerotic journalist and blogger who uncovers and exposes the activities of The Six to the world, is a little bit too over the top.

In Conclusion:

Despite an overly familiar story, Living In Bondage: Breaking Free separates itself from all the shiny garbage coming from new Nollywood with a cast who brought its A-game and a director who had a clear vision of what he wanted: to make a standalone film that pays homage to its predecessor by tackling the same themes it did, but in a modern setting.

This movie is a masterclass in how to properly handle sequels. Was it absolutely necessary? No. Am I fucking ecstatic that it now exists to show others how it’s done? HELL YES!

Living In Bondage: Breaking Free is currently showing in cinemas around Nigeria.

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

April 23, 2020

Khalid — “Know Your Worth (Remix)” ft. Davido & Tems A few months ago, Khalid teamed up with Disclosure for “Know Your Worth” — their second collaboration following their Grammy-nominated hit, “Talk”. Now, they’ve enlisted Davido and Tems for an unexpected remix. On the electro-r&b original, Khalid sings about a woman stuck in a shitty […]

March 3, 2020

Breakfast in bed for the women of Love Pad: Today, the men will do the all the cooking in the Love pad, as instructed by Aunty. They woke the ladies up with breakfast in bed and the ladies were genuinely surprised. All of them, except Presh Talker. The good sis is used to the good […]

May 19, 2020

Tems — “These Days” 2019 blessed us with many impressive breakout stars, and thanks to her anthemic hit, “Try Me”, Tems stood out as one of the more exciting and unique discoveries. Now, following a few standout international and local features, Tems is finally here with her first single of 2020, “These Days”, which she […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

Recommended Quizzes

November 11, 2019

Everyone has something to say about what kind of person they are. But how well do we truthfully evaluate these things? Not that much, I can assure you. The average person is always lying to themselves to make sure they look good. But you know what and who doesn’t lie? Zikoko quizzes that’s what. Take […]

October 10, 2019

2019 is certainly Burna Boy’s year, but, if we are being honest, so was 2018. Since his transcendent mixtape, Outside, the afro-fusion star has refused to get his foot of our necks — dropping a string of fantastic singles and then capping it all off with his career-best album, African Giant.  So, in a bid […]

December 5, 2019

We already tried to guess how much you have in your account and your current net worth, and we think we did a pretty great job (keep any complaints to yourself). Now, we’re going to try and guess your monthly salary based on your relationship with money. Oya, take the quiz: 11 Timed Quizzes For […]

April 14, 2020

Every friend group consists of very different and specific characters — from the parent to the fun one — and it can be a little tough figuring out where you fall. So, we’ve created a quiz that lets you know exactly what kind of friend you are. Take to find out:

November 12, 2019

Are you a single pringle, stuck in a complicated situationship or happily married to the love of your life? This quiz is here to guess your current relationship status, and as you know, Zikoko quizzes are incredibly accurate (don’t quote us). So, give a shot:

November 28, 2019

There are so many talented and stunning Nollywood actors that make it hard not to fall in love with them. So, while we all know the likelihood of us ending up with any of them is super low, it’s still fun to imagine a world where we actually stood a chance, and that’s why this […]

More from Pop

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X