Franchises are distinguished from other sorts of films by their potential to be memorialised; in the minds of the audience, characters are remembered mostly for the chemistry that exists between them. I can barely remember what happened in a certain movie franchise, but the characters are still familiar to me. The same cannot be said for “Merry Men 3,” a film I believe is ‘perpetuated’ by its characters, such as Ramsey Nouah. It’s primarily about boys with fancy toys acting as the people’s saviours. It’s a film that has outlived its creator’s essence after the first excursion and certainly by the second, but it’s now been given a third installment, which I believe calls its time even for the audience. This third installment can console itself for grossing up to 100 million naira, but that’s everything there’s to the movie.
One of the Merry Boys, sorry, I mean Men, Ayo (Ramson Noah), is getting married, but his former boyhood friend, Dafe (Chidi Mokeme), who was assumed to be dead, arrives and disturbs the wedding by showing the live execution of Naz, who was murdered in a vehicle explosion. Dafe also murders Remi. So Ayo, his wife Dera (Nadia Buari), his sister, Dera (Ufuoma McDermott), Amaju (Ayo Makun), and Johnny (Williams Uchemba) go into hiding.
Dafe goes back home only to find that his mother is already dead because of a lack of medical facilities in the community, so he vouches to go after the corrupt Nigerian politicians. First, he kills Chief Jimoh Alade and his family, then frames the Merry Men, who become the most wanted criminals in the country. Depleted, our boys, oh, I mean men, had to recruit new members into their gangs and will need the help of the villainous Dame Maduka (Ireti Doyle), who’ll later be broken from prison. To kill the Senate president, Dafe blackmails the Merry Men into making his bid.
“Merry Men 3: Nemesis” directed by Moses Inwang is a test of futile endurance and patience that ends just as flat as it began. If you go to see this film expecting to be entertained, you will be disappointed. The film is emotionally deadpan, especially when it comes to the deaths of characters with whom we have no sort emotional connection, so their deaths carry no weight with us.
This third installment of the franchise is repetitive, like the last one, but far more vapid. With a plot that lacks build-up, the film rushes to reveal the contents of its inner workings, leaving us to question what we just saw.
Dafe’s attempts at social commentary in the film are, if anything, superficial, as they have been in earlier films. Dafe is not Robin Hood, but a maniac. His newfound significance has no visible impact on the film.
The previous films’ attractiveness was built on Jim Iyke’s imposing size in the role of Naz and Falz’s humorous personality in the role of Remi. Despite William Uchemba’s comic relief, we are no longer drawn to these characters on any level. The Merry Men trilogy was more about humour than action or drama, but in this latest sequel, the comic part of the film is abandoned for a heavy emotional undertone that comes off as boring in the end.
The film contains numerous technical errors, making it less engaging. The pyrotechnics are uninspiring. The camera position and motions, particularly the arc shots, are occasionally too much to stomach, causing disorienting effect, such as when the camera circles the characters.
I assume that the Merry Men franchise continues to exist because of its wealthy actors, who have devolved into little more than boys playing with their fancy toys and flaunting their riches.
This latest installment of the Merry Men falls short on both a thematic and entertainment level, as it lacks the humour of prior installments. It’s an action film with dreary action scenes. Perhaps it’s time for the franchise to call it an end.