A lot has been said about “four crooks and a rookie” and nearly everyone who has seen it has a definite opinion about it: either you like it or you don’t. For me, 15-20 minutes into the movie all I wanted to know was “where the heck are they going to get this helicopter from in Naija?”
Four Crooks and a Rookie is the story of a robbery gone wrong when three police officers chasing a girl happen to stop right in front of a bank with a robbery going on inside. It sounds great on paper. The translation onto the screen however is another matter.
My initial impression was it’s an interesting attempt but unlike other similar ‘interesting attempts’ it goes one step further from being something that exists mainly in the imagination of the viewer to something that is at least tangible.
Four Crooks and a rookie was a hit in some aspects and a miss in others. It started off with force and commands your attention because you’re just inquisitive to find out exactly how this nollywood heist flick is going to pan out. A couple seconds after the situation turns from a robbery into a hostage situation it begins to slowly crumble.
At that point for me the almost-acting actors just became that much more noticeable, the cartoons used in the name of graphics became that much more comical and the entire scenario that much less entertaining. I did wake back up, however, when the hunger situation arose and Caesar Ume Ezeoke’s character was required to go get food. I don’t know why it was necessary that he had to take his shirt off but I would be the last person on this earth to complain about that.
Post that situation the drama begins to unfold at a quicker pace and the action part of the movie came to the fore front. Even though most of the graphics were comical it was still a nice attempt – at least up until they sent that cartoon car flying into the sky in cartoon-flames.
The performances in this movie wavered somewhere between really-can’t-act-but-is-doing-a-considerably-good-job-playing-it-off and can-maybe-act-but-barely-so. This is because even though most of the characters are saying the dialogues with the strength and passion technically, their body is saying something else.
I must, however, commend the few actors that were impressive and those were the cops in the police car before the drama even began to unfold. The conversation, the mannerisms, the comic timing was effortless amongst everyone in that car and that was darn near the highlight of the movie for me. Then again there was also Michael Ukaegbu who plaid ‘the boss’. He did a sufficient job with conveying that strength and thought of a gang leader.
Having said that I’d like to point out a few things that were strategically placed for amusement and succeeded. Like the headlines scrolling beneath the news channel that reads “Tonto Dike album nominated for best album at the Grammys” and “Will and Kate to have royal baby in Africa; to be delivered at Lagos University Teaching Hospital” – the only reason why I caught these was because I was rewinding the go-get-food scene lol. And of course there was also the police badges that said “nollywood police”, that cracked me up for some reason probably because of the graphics that followed.
All in all four crooks and a rookie is a nice attempt. The storyline is solid and it even still manages to throw in a couple subliminals in there. I love the music it ends with and one cannot but commend the movie makers for daring to try something different.