Nigerian Instagram comedians make ridiculous skits that are quite funny and often colored with terrible grammar. Now imagine these comedians—Omo Ibadan, Brother Shaggi, Wole Arole, and Mc Lively—slapped together with characters from WAPTV popular shows—Super Story and Papa Ajasco. Then spice things up with some Nollywood veterans and sprinkle a few stand-up comedians here and there, and ask all of them to play out a series of silly Instagram skits. That is what WapTv’s attempt at a cinematic universe, Knockout, is all about.
The result is either a cringefest or a non-stop train of laughter, it all depends on you.
The film opens with Papa Ajasco exhibiting some salacity in a hotel in Calabar. During his conversation with the hotel receptionist, he lets his horniness get the best of him; constantly moving the conversation from normal to sexual, much to the detestation of the receptionist. When he gets to his room, he sees a picture of a curvy lady and immediately put a call to the receptionist “ordering” for a lady with a similar specification.
The attendant is perplexed—because hotel, not brothel—and complains to his madam who comes by the reception. The madam is Toyin Tomato, Sola Sobowale’s legendary character from Super Story’s Oh Father Oh Mother. She heads to the room to boot papa Ajasco off, but he mistakes her to be his ‘order’. What follows next is what you get throughout the movie: Instagram comedians, cringe scenes, and a lot of laughter.
The film comes across as plotless, although there is a story amidst the series of Instagram skits. Boy Alinco comes to Papa Ajasco with an idea that will fetch them money. Papa Ajasco seems uninterested until he hears the idea could produce a billion naira. The idea is a boxing competition and Papa Ajasco and team are going to compete against current champion Killango (Gentle Jack) and their boxer is the old, skinny Eazywin (Hafiz ‘saka’ Oyetoro). Of course, there is no backstory to Eazywin. The team comprises Papa Ajasco, Boy Alinco, two daft men, and Miss Pepeye. They need 60 million Naira to compete and each person must contribute 15 million Naira.
It is at this point that Knockout tries to be sensible but then it loses some of its humor which is the basis of its existence. Each member of the group goes on a different mission to raise their 15 million; Papa Ajasco is going to borrow from his friend; Miss Pepeye is going to use a love charm on a sugar daddy; Boy Alinco is going to host and win a pageant; and the two daft men are going to try to rob a bank. Each of these missions plays out like Instagram skits—ridiculous, yet funny.
The truly genius thing here is the attempt to create a cinematic universe borrowing characters from WapTV popular tv shows— Toyin Tomato from Super Story, Papa Ajasco and co, and Nnenna from Nnenna and Friends. And borrowing from Marvel Cinematic Universe, there were post-credit scenes. Commercially, this idea is brilliant; artistically, it could have been too, except the focus was getting people to laugh at all cost, including depriving the film of rationality and a solid plot.
In conclusion, there is the joy of seeing many characters from our favorite TV shows of yesteryears and there is a lot of humor, but this isn’t a film for you if you appreciate the art-form called cinema. However, if you enjoyed films like Alakada Reloaded and Ghost and the Tout, then Knockout is perfect for you.