After Ahanna Okolo’s life as he knows it ends, he decides to steal the life he always wanted. He has just one rule – no bloodshed. He assembles a group of men with various skills, carrying out a series of spectacular heists, always ten steps ahead of the police. However, when their biggest heist takes an unexpectedly deadly turn, the gang suddenly find themselves with bitter enemies on both sides of the law.
Shot in four weeks in the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak in Nigeria, the Ramsey Nouah directed action thriller reportedly puts a modern context to the remarkable classic story originally written by Amaka Igwe. The remake written by Nicole Asinugo will focus on the titular character, Ahanna.
‘Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story’ stars are Stan Nze as its titular character alongside Osas Ighodaro, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Bucci Franklin as Nzenozo, Efa Iwara, AY Makun, Emeka Nwagbaraocha, Brutus Richards, Odera Adimorah, and Elma Mbadiwe. Also cast in the production are Nollywood veterans including Chiwetalu Agu as Odinaka, Sonny McDon as Louis, Nobert Young, Gloria Young, Chinyere Wilfred, Cassandra Odita, Fred Amata and Ejike Asiegbu.
Rattlesnake’s remake comes in the wake of the success of Living in Bondage which according to Nouah sparked the idea to recreate classic Nollywood stories.
Although the film has a star-studded cast, it doesn’t live up to expectations.
Despite the technical restraints of a 1995 film, Amaka Igwe successfully created a picture with profound themes and spectacular character arcs that still manage to wow its audience.
Unfortunately, Nouah’s remake barely levels up to that gargantuan pedestal. It is a classy film but pales in comparison to the original in terms of the depth of the original’s plot and themes.
Pretty much like the original Ahanna (Stan Nze) is left to fend for himself after the death of his father. When he discovers his Uncle and mother have begun a life together, he reunites with Nzenuozo (Bucci Franklin) and Amara (Osas Ighodaro) and, they birth the Armadas, an armed robbery gang with conflicting interests.
Somewhere in the mix, it begins to dawn on you that this is not just about a tragic hero but a heist film with a sloppy Robin Hood spin.
Ahanna, the eponymous character is portrayed as the brains of the gang. But asides urging his crew to be gracious and nonviolent thieves, the genius narrative is barely consistent. Then there is Nzenuozo, the ticking time bomb crackhead, Sango (Emeka Nwagbaraocha ) the computer whizz, Bala (Efa Iwara) and Egbe (Odera Adimorah), the weapon master. Ighodaro is pretty much the thirst trap and, at least one is necessary for every heist story.
Going by the glitz and glamour portrayed in ‘Living In Bondage: Breaking Free’, it will not be farfetched to conclude that Play Network’s productions are known for their overzealous show of glitz and glamour. In ‘Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story’, this becomes the most consistent feature, which is a win and a loss depending on perspective.
The show of opulence is classy when it does not feel like a huge lump shoved down one’s throat and this, sadly, happens frequently.
Igwe’s ‘Rattlesnake’, on the other hand, explores culture as a dominant theme, one of the reasons it still stays relevant. A classic example is how she delicately crafts the burial scene. The precision from the lying in state to the widow shielded with palm fronds immediately grabs your attention.
In Nouah’s remake, there are several opportunities to create endearing moments. Sadly it is filled with pomp, pageantry and ad placements.
But this remake is not entirely littered with flubs. It holds good cinematography and some strong performances that set it apart. Bucci Franklin for one is a class-act as Nzenuozo. His character, though scantily developed, is easily the most memorable. He brings the adrenaline rush that the story desperately needs.
Stan Nze as Ahanna is also not a bad one to note. Nze is an actor with depth and with every chance that the story offers, he effortlessly manoeuvres his character.