Before proceeding, I’m gonna have to ask you to check a few things at the door. First, you’ll want to leave any film snob tendencies. We don’t want them here. Second, an unwillingness to believe the insane premises. What? No, you can hold onto your guns and sense of humor. You’ll need them where we’re going. Destination? Wakaliwood, Uganda. You’ve never heard of it? Prepare to have your mind blown by the Canadian premiere of Ramon Film Productions’ BAD BLACK at Fantasia International Film Festival. Following the rave response to their first crazy action-packed film WHO KILLED CAPTAIN ALEX?, RFP and director Nabwana I.G.G. are back with a movie that has more kung fu, stunts, explosions, and plenty more revenge.
In case you’ve not had the privilege of seeing a film from Wakaliwood yet, let me set the stage for you. Growing up in the slums of Wakaliga, Uganda, Nabwana Isaac Godfrey Geoffrey fell in love with action movies from the United States starring Stallone and Schwarzenegger, as well as martial arts films from Hong Kong. At the age of 32, he decided to start making films with his friends and people around his town. Piecing together wood and other found objects, they created weapons, and with limited computer resources, he edited together his first work.
The result was WHO KILLED CAPTAIN ALEX? An extremely fun film involving gun fights, flying fists, and the dreaded Tiger Mafia, with the whole thing commentated by VJ Emmie. Emmie acts as a riff machine, not unlike MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000, but also helps fill in narrative gaps as well. The film was made for under 200 American dollars. And while it does lack funding, it doesn’t lack heart as all involved put 110% effort into their work.
Flash forward to 2016, where Nabwana has 5 features and countless shorts under his belt. And with the help of American Alan Ssali Hofmanis, Ramon Film Productions is making a name for themselves worldwide and becoming a festival darling. So where does one go with their next feature? Why not have a revenge flick mixed with a fish out of water tale, complete with a young ghetto child named Wesley Snipes acting as a Mr. Miyagi-like trainer? Sounds about right.
A young girl is chased out of the adoptive home that she is living in, with only the streets available to her. Out on her own, she soon finds a band of children panhandling. And not unlike Oliver Twist, this band of misfit kids is being watched over by a man with selfish and sometimes cruel intent. After he goes a step too far and a child dies, the girl takes things into her own hands and dispatches of their overseer. Taking charge of the group, we move ahead several years, where she has become Bad Black, the head of one of the more successful street gangs that their town has seen.
In the same town, we meet Doctor Ssali, an American doctor helping out the poor with all of their medical needs. Working out of a tent, with only a young child named Wesley Snipes as his assistant, Ssali spends all day trying to improve the health of all around. After a run in with Bad Black’s crew, he realizes that he’s needing to learn how to defend himself. With the help of Snipes and a training montage inspired by ROCKY and other films, we see Ssali learn martial arts and the way of the commando.
With a corrupt military leader around, we see a convergence of both Bad Black, Doctor Ssali, that all erupts into some bombastic fight sequences. And while there are several scenes early on that feel extremely out of place, IGG ensures that all questions are answered by the end of the film.
BAD BLACK had it’s Fantasia Film Festival premiere on July 29th and is continuing to rock the festival circuit from here on out! For more information on where to catch it and their other films, check out their website here.
And if you want to get a true sense of the film, here’s the opening scene to whet your appetite!