• “Living in Bondage,” a Nigerian drama thriller, came out 27 years ago in 1992.
  • It quickly became a game-changer that changed and created the Nollywood we know today. It also left many longing for a follow-up.
  • The highly anticipated sequel, “Living in Bondage: Breaking Free,” is finally here and we got to see it over the weekend. We look at the three things the movie got right and its one epic fail without giving away too many spoilers.

On Saturday, November 2, 2019, Nollywood came out for the movie premiere of the “Living in Bondage: Breaking Free.”

Business Insider Sub Saharan Africa was also at the star studded event and we got to see the movie before its cinema release on November 8. 

Here is what the sequel got right:

  • Perfect casting

The first thing that comes to mind whenever there are talks of a sequel is the casting. Will the beloved actors who delivered memorable performances in the first one appear in the follow-up? 

This question is definitely important for a Nollywood classic like “Living in Bondage” which had unforgettable characters like ‘Andy Okeke’ played by Kenneth Okonkwo.

Business Insider can report that this sequel does not disappoint its fans. Familiar faces from the first movie like Okwonkwo, Bob-ManuelUdokwu, and Kanayo O. Kanayo make appearances in this 2019 film. 

Even the new faces were just right for this movie. Take Swanky JKA, who was only three months old when Living In Bondage was released. He plays the main character named Nnamdi, Andy’s son, in the sequel. His believable performance received a standing ovation at the premiere.

Other additions to the cast include Enyinna Nwigwe, Nancy Isime, Munachi Abii and Ramsey Nouah, who directed and played the powerful villain named Richard Williams.

ALSO READ: Will the ‘Living in Bondage’ sequel be a box office hit?

  • Relatable story

The plot for the iconic Living in Bondage was written by Kenneth Nnebue and Okechukwu Ogunjiofor. It was an interesting story about greed, wealth, power and occultism — all relevant to that era. Over 20 years later, it remains a fan favourite which makes this movie a tough act to follow. 

Somehow, the writers of this sequel, Nicole Asinugo and C.J. Obasi, found a way to continue the first story without a flashback scene from the 1992 blockbuster while keeping it fresh and relatable to this generation. 

Another good thing about this plot is that you do not necessarily have to see the first movie to make sense of this sequel. This is great since most millennials were too young to have seen the original when it came out.

Speaking with The Guardian after the screening, the Executive Producer, Dotun Olakurin said, “If you watch Living In Bondage in the 90s, you will know that it is a very powerful story everybody in Nigeria can relate to at some point or the other. What we have done is run the same powerful story into the current times and you can relate to it just as well if not more.

“It brings in all the issues we deal with in Nigeria of today in a way that we can relate with comfortably and happily. It’s like saying you have Mercedes of the 90s and Mercedes of nowadays. For us it is a child of the child — that a story of the previous story.”

  • The right level of opulence the movie requires

The sequel, like the original, primarily tells the story of a young man desperate for riches and willing to do anything to get it. Here, we have Nnamdi (Swanky JKA) whose quest for the good life takes him to Chief Omego (Kanayo) amd Richard Williams (Nuoah).

As a world-class billionaire and the spiritual leader of a powerful cult known as ‘The Six’, it is expected that Nuoah would live a life of unbelievable affluence and we see just that. Expect to see everything from a private jet, yacht to exotic fast cars and luxurious mansions.

Ramsey Nouah, who makes his directorial debut with this sequel, told BellaNaija: “Being in front of the camera for so many years didn’t quite prepare me for the intensity of directing this movie. Especially, for such an adored classic. It took four years of the team’s time and effort because we had to get it right. And I hope people enjoy, appreciate and learn from it.

  • One bad egg

The sequel has an interesting character called Uzoma - a journalist whose role is an integral part of the story.

He is supposed to be a Nigerian reporter desperate for the truth but he looks better suited for an American movie or TV show with his outfits, plant and cigarettes. This is the only major flaw in the otherwise thorough and well-executed film project.