King of Boys Review and How Kemi Adetiba Delivered

King of Boys Review and How Kemi Adetiba Delivered

On seeing the trailer for The King of Boys in October, I honestly did not expect much from it because it was a Nigerian movie. Although I am Nigerian and a writer, our films can some times be heavily flawed. From weak movie plots to direction to actors not exactly fit for the roles they play. Saw King of Boys two weeks back and I just had to write a King of Boys review and how Kemi Adetiba delivered excellently.

The Wedding Party was the rave of the moment back then. I saw it in the third week it started showing at the cinemas and enjoyed every bit of it. This was the first film directed by Kemi Adetiba. I had to do a little bit of research about her and discovered she studied at the New York Film Academy after establishing herself in the media scene, no doubt a lady who knew her business. Kemi Adetiba as a producer, director and producer is a trailblazer in the Nigerian movie industry with her quality direction and storytelling. King of Boys still sits at the top of Nigerian movies in the cinema for five weeks now, raking in 160 million and passing the record for her first movie The Wedding Party.

King of Boys follows the story of Eniola Salami played by Sola Sobowale; a business woman, philanthropist who is also the kingpin of the underworld whose political ambition goes awry. Although there have been different opinions on the movie on social media, I saw mostly good reviews before I saw the movie and I was honestly hooked from the first scene of the approximately three hours movie. At first, I had been appalled when I saw the length of the movie. How could anyone possibly sit for so long for just one movie? Armed with popcorn and a drink, I found myself in Filmhouse Cinema Surulere screen 3 and so it began. I walked out of the cinema past 9 o’clock and could not get over how great the movie was.

king of boys review

The Casting and Acting

There is truly no one that could have killed Eniola Salami’s role like Sola Sobowale. From the birthday party scene, she was magnificent and such a natural. Her acting was comparable to that of The Wedding Party in which she plays the bride’s mother. She brought life to the role of The King of Boys. Her switch from gangster leader to emotional mother was simply beautiful. From being ruthless to breaking down in the prison cell, Sola deserve awards for her role in this movie.

Making their first acting debuts, the Nigerian rappers Reminisce and Ill Bliss captured their roles as well. I was skeptical about them delivering as acting is a different ball game from music but they did. Apparently, it took almost 8 months to convince Reminisce to play the role he did because of his work but Kemi was determined that she wanted no other person for that role. Damn! Like I said earlier, a lady that knows her stuff. On showing up to the movie shoot and seeing Sola Sobowale at work, Reminisce felt he could not match her energy. Reminisce as Makanaki makes being a bad guy look so good. That may have been his first movie role but he killed it. Looking forward to seeing him in more movie roles.

Photographer turned actress Toni Tones aced the role of a younger Eniola. Apparently, she had to add weight plus deliberately make her voice huskier for the role. If you ask me, it worked well. While I really want to say Adesua Etomi did a great job in the movie, her acting in this particular movie was just there.

Another character whose acting I really find commendable is Paul Sambo who plays Inspector Gobir. He deserves an award for his role as he was actively on his feet and yet dishing out emotions in his hospital scenes. He brought the Hausa flavor into the movie and totally blended it well into the Lagos based story-line.

I should mention it at this point that I may be developing a crush on the actor Demola Adedoyin who plays Eniola’s son in the movie. His role was cool, calm and collected, yet he delivered. He is a great actor too and so fineeee! I did not get why his character had to commit suicide though.

The Story-line and Plot

King of Boys starts with a birthday party scene obviously thrown by someone of affluence. Not only did Kemi Adetiba direct this movie, she also wrote the script. A what? A genius! I particularly loved the fact that the script had a different story, one not popularly approached by writers. Set in Lagos and covering several issues including crime, religion, siblings rivalry, politics and corruption in the system, the story-line was everything. The ending also leaves room for more as there is a what next feel attached to Eniola still being the King of Boys even after fleeing Nigeria.

From the part Makanaki challenges Eniola for her throne, I was anticipating what the next scene would bring. Most Nollywood movies are terrible in the sense that their ending is predictable right from the second scene. The plot was fast paced and there was no unnecessary drag popular with other movies. The flashback tool employed in showing young Eniola’s rise as the King of Boys perfectly blends with the present without leaving the audience confused. The problems associated with infidelity comes up in Chief Salami courting young Eniola as he loses not only his family but his life and consequently, seat at the table. There are a lot of lessons to derive from the movie.

Did I mention how mind-blowing the African proverbs and traditional references were? They were indeed something.

The Cinematography

I foresee an award for this movie in cinematography and direction because it was simply great. Both the angles and the setup of the scenes. The burning prison scene had me gasping. Expected actual fire but the lighting and smoke effect worked as well. I feel like there really is no other way the movie could have been better shot. I love the picture quality of the movie and it was topnotch.

Popular Nigerian musician KWAM1 makes a cameo in this movie at the beginning birthday scene and it promptly reminded me of his music which was a key feature of growing up in Nigeria. From the Lagos landscapes to hiding money in septic tanks to the costumes to the underworld portrayal, Kemi captured Nigerian lifestyle very well. Most movies do not capture night scenes well but this was not a problem in King of Boys at all.

The Flaws

There was an unexplained part with the judge’s family kidnapping. I still do not understand that part and the phone call Kemi made. The soundtrack was louder than the actors voices in some scenes, especially the birthday party scene. Sincerely, the story could have been a little bit more polished. The ending shows the ruthless kingpin turning weak when it came to fighting for respect in her own establishment when a worker gets harassed. Feminism could have been a strong point to make here. For a movie that started off showing how powerful the main character is, that move was awkward.

In conclusion, Kemi Adetiba no doubt did excellently on King of Boys and her work is laudable. To take on a project like that and create magic with the right cast and team is not easy especially in Nollywood. She is someone I would really love to sit and converse with. Could learn a lot from her and tap into her creativity.

If you are yet to see this movie, you really should and come compare notes. If you have seen it, do drop a comment below on what you think about it. The best part of posting here is getting your feedback and comments. Cheers!

p.s I realized this post passed the 1300 words count and that is a first this year. Pheww! Also, you may notice the Guide to Getting Over Parents Separation and Friday Fiction posts are missing on the blog, this is due to a mistake I recently made and sadly, they cannot be recovered. I am really sorry about that.


  1. As much as I’d like to say I share your view about the lighting and effects at the burning prison yard I have to point out that the smoke effect was heartbreaking. Definitely the movie scores huge points on Nollywood leader board, I like to think it could have been better. Also, that last scene I don’t think it portrays her as weak. I think she’s just learnt a huge lesson and is keeping her head down. And from the look she gave the waitress that was harassed I like to think she’s carrying out something under g. Maybe we’ll find out in something like’ The return of the King’ or something maybe we won’t. All in all the movie is a must watch and definitely marks Kemi Adetiba as a force to reckon with in the Nigerian movie industry

  2. I have seen the movie and I couldn’t help but nod at interval with each point raised. You have done so much justice to the review and Kemi Adetiba is indeed one to look out for in Nigeria.

    Sorry about the lost posts.

  3. The reason why the judges family was kidnapped was all makanaki’s plan. He knew if she stayed in jail taking the throne will still be an issue cause she will still come out. So he needed her out of the picture by killing her. That was why he kidnapped the judges family so that she would not have an option to be in prison.
    I love the review!
    The effects were good. We as Nigerians should not be expecting the effects Hollywood gives to their movies. We don’t have that full exposure yet. But we are getting there really fast. So I would employ us to appreciate a good job. Kemi did an amazing job.
    Adesua was good! We are used to the soft, kind and loving character she plays, but in this I saw a ruthless Queen. She followed her mums foot steps, her mum was the only one that could control her. She played the role well.

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