The writer of ‘Merry Men: The Real Yoruba Demons’ might have got his inspiration from the 1952 action adventure film, ‘Robin Hood and His Merrie Men’ but Ayo “AY” Makun’s version is distasteful and morally off-putting.
In ‘Merry Men: The Real Yoruba Demons,’ Ramsey Nouah plays Ayo Alesinloye, a modern day Robin Hood of sorts. The Merry Men have a thriving business and pay good taxes but their approach to business is unconventional and unethical. They use sex and blackmail among other things to get what they want.
The Merry Men, Alesinloye and his friends, Amaju Abioritsegbemi (Ayo “AY” Makun), Remi Martins (Folarin “Falz” Falana) and Naz Okigbo (Jim Iyke) are not just the toast of the town, they are “Yoruba Demons,” a Nigerian slang for casanovas, whom Nigerian women typically dread. They are outlaws and their reputation precedes them. So, it is ironic that women want to be with them in Makun’s film.
Iretiola Doyle plays Dame Maduka, a corrupt and promiscuous minister whose toyboy is Amaju. Amaju has been enriched from contracts received from his sugar mummy.
The Merry Men discover that Maduka has granted Chief Edmund Omole (Jide Kosoko) a multi-billion Naira contract to build a shopping mall at Garki village and it displeases Ayo in particular. It is personal for Ayo as situating the mall at Garki village would mean displacing several from their homes including his aunt (Faitha Williams) and her son with whom he found solace after leaving home. So, the Merry Men set a plan in motion to expose the corrupt dealings between Maduka and Chief Omole. They blackmail Chief Omole with a sextape demanding N100m and relocation of the mall from Garki village. And although Amaju suggests donating a third of the money to an NGO, it does not make blackmail alright.
As with AY’s last three productions, ‘Merry Men: The Real Yoruba Demons’ is highly disappointing. The story is incoherent. Ayo’s dad is dying and in hospital. But Ayo does not mention it to his sister Kemi (Rosaline Meurer). Instead Kemi is spending time with Naz and planning to elope.
The acting is also uninspiring. But Ramsey managed to leave with his reputation intact. Meurer’s acting is the worst. It is particularly awful in the scenes where she flirts with Naz. Falana is supposedly an IT genius so it would have been refreshing to see him play geek, but he plays the comical “Falz.” And AY’s jokes are as lame as ever. And the action sequences are also badly done.
The biggest downside of the movie is that the story lacks moral lessons. Rather, it glorifies playboys. The Merry Men are frivolous. They play poker, though the sex is not explicit, there are implied threesomes, Naz in a room with two woman and three women approach Chief Omole’s room. Ayo and Dera (Damilola Adegbite) have a car race. With road accidents being a big problem in Abuja, racing is a sore spot. There is also an unnecessary parade of scantily clad women.
‘Merry Men: The Real Yoruba Demons’ opens with the statement, “No one escapes the law even the Merry Men.” As such one expects to takeaway some moral lessons. But the Merry Men get away. And in the end, the movie glorifies casanovas. However, Ayo’s proposal to Dera is a nice twist.
Directed by: Toka Mcbaror
Producer: Ayo “AY” Makun
Cast includes: Ramsey Nouah, AY Makun, Folarin “Falz” Falana, Jim Iyke, Iretiola Doyle, Jide Kosoko, Nancy Isime, Richard Mofe-Damijo (RMD), Rosaline Meurer, Faitha Williams, Osas Ighodaro Ajibade, Lilian Esoro, Segun Arinze and Francis Duru.