Richard Mofe-Damijo’s (RMD) performance in “Seven” reinforces why he was welcomed back into the acting scene with open arms, despite his hiatus to serve in government.
The movie stars a proficient ensemble cast which includes Bimbo Manuel, John Asiemo, fondly called Daddy Showkey, Efa Iwara and Sadiq Daba.
In “Seven,” RMD is not the debonair dad. He is streetwise and gangster. But you will equally love him. The last time RMD was probably this gangster was in the 2015 film “Olobiri.” However in the movie “Seven,” he is not stony-hearted. He is amiable.
“Seven” is a beautiful movie about friendship and family. RMD plays Ejiro, driver to Tayo (Manuel), the owner of Olympus Properties and his long-time friend from Ajegunle in Lagos. From the second scene, the movie director, Tosin Igho, did a good job of establishing the depth of the friendship between Tayo and Ejiro.
The movie also shares the same authenticity as Ema Edosio’s “Kasala,” set in the slums of Lagos, with Pidgin English used mainly in the dialogue. With that authenticity also comes very believable acting.
That RMD would deliver his lines in Pidgin English with charm is a no-brainer. But our hearts leapt for joy when we heard the quintessential and very eloquent Mr. Manuel speak Pidgin English. There is incorrect Pidgin English. These days you even hear it on Wazobia FM, Nigeria’s flagship Pidgin English language radio station. But as with his impeccable command of the English language, Manuel’s Pidgin English is accurate. There is a twang to correct Pidgin English and Manuel has got it. It is music to the ears. But that’s not the story.
In “Seven,” Tayo learns that his tumor has eaten deep and that he has a very short time to live. So, Tayo decides to put his only son Kolade (Efa Iwara) in charge of his business. Except that Kolade would rather race cars, smoke Marijuana (weed) or run a bar. It suffices to say that unlike “Merry Men: The Real Yoruba Demons,” the car race is an important aspect of the story. And more importantly, it was executed responsibly.
That said, Tayo feels responsible for how Kolade turned out. He was over-protective of his son after his wife passed away. Now, he is worried about how Kolade will cope in his absence. After an argument with Kolade, Tayo mockingly reaffirms his fears stating that because Kolade smokes weed does not mean he is tough. Then, he brushed it aside saying, ‘Dem know wetin we smoke?’ Ejiro concurred and responded, ‘… and wetin we take baff?’ Like the discussion on the way back from the hospital and the tennis game, this was another pivotal moment in Igho’s story that makes “Seven” truly heartwarming. And as always, Manuel’s acting is brilliant. You see the pain in his eyes as he worries about the fate of his son. It is understandable.
Sadly, Tayo passes and his last will and testament, states that Kolade must spend seven-days in Ajegunle or lose his inheritance. It is where he grew-up. Hopefully, it would make Kolade stronger and able to face the world. In the process, he would also better appreciate the simpler things of life. In the meantime, a senior executive at Olympus Properties, Bassey (Patrick Diabuah), would run the affairs of the company. As expected, Kolade initially refused to accept the terms of the will until he became broke.
Whilst in Ajegunle, Kolade encounters many hardships. Most importantly, he must survive the dreaded gang leader, Tejiri aka Croaker (Daddy Showkey).
Kolade runs into Ejiro’s son Tega and niece (Uche Nwaefuna) in Ajegunle. Igho also properly orchestrated the meeting between Tega and Kolade rather than playing it as a lucky coincidence. Efe proves that in Ajegunle, everyone is tough even girls. And “Seven” gives the audience the most exciting car chase in the history of Nollywood filmmaking. As for Iwara, he is on the rise.
For debuting actor Daddy Showkey, he is one of the success stories to come out of Ajegunle and somewhat its patriarch. This makes him a great fit for the role. His performance was so natural that the movie seemed like seven-days in the life of Daddy Showkey.
Nollywood is not known to have produced very compelling action movies. As a matter of fact, seeing a Nollywood action flick is a no-no for many Nigerian movie lovers. However, Igho achieves a major milestone with “Seven.” Igho’s film scores good points for well choreographed and memorable action sequences.
Igho doubles as the screenwriter and director of “Seven,” whilst Chioma Ude, the convener of the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF), and Olugbenga Obadina are the executive producers.
“Seven” is an action-packed movie with a lot of heart. It is a La Vida Studios production in association with Remote Productions, and the filmmakers have given Nigerians an action movie to beat their chest about.
Written and produced by Tosin Igho
Cast includes: RMD, Daddy Showkey, Bimbo Manuel, Efa Iwara