• Wakaliwood Supa Action Volume 1: Who Killed Captain Alex? + Bad Black (AGFA) Blu-ray Review



    Released by: AGFA
    Released on: June 11th, 2019.
    Director: Nabawana IGG
    Cast: Kakule William, Sseruyna Ernest, Bukenya Charles, Nalwanga Gloria, Alan Hofmanis, Bisaso Dauda
    Year: 2010/2016
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    Wakaliwood Supa Action Volume 1: Who Killed Captain Alex? + Bad Black – Movie Review:

    One of the amazing things about the internet is how filmmakers can get their products out via platforms like YouTube with pretty much zero distribution costs. One of the more interesting and unusual success stories in this regard is the advent of Wakaliwood cinema finding an international audience. AGFA, in their ongoing quest to distribute and preserve some of the wildest stuff around, brings two of Ugandan cinema’s finest to Blu-ray with this double-feature release.

    Who Killed Captain Alex?:

    First up, the one that started it all! Directed by Nabawana IGG (Isaac Godfrey Geoffrey Nabawana) and made up of a cast and crew of his fellow villagers, Who Killed Captain Alex? is the story of the noble men of the Ugandan Peoples’ Defense Force and their efforts to quash the nefarious Tiger Mafia. The man behind the Tiger Mafia crew is Richard (Sseruyna Ernest), a legitimate rat bastard of a villain who would love nothing more than to kill the UPDF’s star player, Captain Alex (Kakule William).

    That, however, will not be easy. See, Alex is tough. He’s really tough. He’s also quite smart and more than a little cunning. So, when the Tiger Mafia try to take him out with various hits and setups, he always seems to be one step ahead of them. Eventually, however, Captain Alex is killed and his brother, a kung fu expert named, of course, Bruce (Bukenya Charles) sets out to figure out who did it and to exact his violent revenge.

    Available with or without an absolutely insane running commentary from VJ Emmie (more on that in a bit), this movie more than makes up for what it lacks in budget with heart, energy and creativity. It’s seventy-five-minutes of insanity, but it’s also pretty damned infectious. The acting is all over the place and often times either too wooden or completely over the top. It doesn’t matter. The effects are sub PS1 digital creations. It doesn’t matter. The sound mix is a mess. The story has massive logic gaps and holes in it. Again, it doesn’t matter. These guys were clearly having an absolute blast making the picture and that shines through in every soft looking frame of this digitally shot, scrappy little film. Oh, and man, that helicopter… that fucking helicopter.

    Now, that whole VJ Emmie thing? VJ stands for ‘Video Joker’ and apparently in Uganda this is a popular tradition wherein a guy yells over the movie, occasionally narrating what’s happening on screen and often times poking fun at it or simply yelling out things like ‘MOVIE MOVIE MOVIE MOVIE MOVIE’ in order to get the audience into it. It’s over the top and patently obnoxious but once you get used to it, it’s also pretty entertaining.

    Bad Black:

    The second, and more recent, of the two features is pretty much entirely narrated by VJ Emmie, so there’s no ‘clean’ version included for this picture. Shot over a few years and, again, for no money the story here isn’t always easy to follow, but let’s give it a shot. A man named Swaaz (named after a certain Austrian action star) is upset that his wife has been hospitalized. She’s dying, we’re told, and while he is a good man, he must do what he needs to do to save her. It’s then that we see him take out a guard, steal his assault rifle and rob a bank (where the teller hides behind a wall clearly made of cardboard). He gets some help from a little kid named Buddy Spencer.

    Fast forward ten years. Crime is rising like crazy and an American doctor named Ssali (Alan Hofmanis, an American who decided to head to Uganda and get involved in all of this) has arrived to help out with some charitable medical work. Into this mess arrives Bad Black (Nalwanga Gloria). She’s a tough gal who grew up dirt poor and who gets involved some criminal activity, winds up leading a gang and trying to swindle a rich guy. Their paths cross, and once they do, there’s lots of fighting and lots of violence and a character, a little boy even, named Wesley Snipes trains the good doctor in the art of kicking ass.

    This one is slightly more polished than the first but it’s still got IGG’s crazy home-made, self-taught style all over it. There’s a lot of fights, a lot of violence and a lot of nonsensical dialogue but the scenes wherein young Mr. Snipes trains a grown man to be a commando because ‘your father was a commando, it is in your blood!’ are nothing short of awesome. He chases him around waving and yelling at him telling him ‘forget your wife in America, she hates you!’ until he falls in ‘poo poo’ (which, we’re told by Emmie, is everywhere in Ugada).

    The fight choreography is rough around the edges (and yet, sometimes, insanely ambitious and impressive), the whole thing is rough around the edges, but you can definitely see some growth on IGG’s part as a director. If the narrative isn’t as cohesive as it maybe could and should have been it almost doesn’t matter because, again, the energy, the spirt and the insanely admirable DIY ethos on display here is just so much fun that you can’t help but love it.

    Wakaliwood Supa Action Volume 1: Who Killed Captain Alex? + Bad Black – Blu-ray Review:

    “These films were fueled by love and created with DIY equipment. Please approach the technical quality of the transfers with empathy.”

    Both films are presented on a 50GB disc in AVC encoded 1080p high definition. Let’s start with Who Killed Captain Alex?, which was shot back in 2010 and for which only a low-fi SD master exists (the director admits that he deleted the master files off of his computer because he figured it would never be seen outside of his village!). That master has been upscaled here but there’s only so much you can do. It looks a little rough around the edges and you’d be a fool to expect true high definition clarity here but the image, framed at 1.33.1, is watchable if never amazing. Bad Black fares a bit better. It’s presented in 1.33.1 and some shots look obviously squeezed, but colors look reasonably solid here. This isn’t the type of disc you go into expecting flawless video quality, and really, you don’t get it, but you do get the best available presentation of these two no-budget wonders that you’re likely ever to see.

    As far as the audio goes, both films are presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, in English. As noted, you can watch Captain Alex with or without VJ Emmie’s commentary, while Bad Black is available only with Emmie’s commentary. Audio quality is all over the place. There are sometimes strange pans and crossovers in the mix, levels can and do jump around unexpectedly from time to time and sound effects can often be very, very loud. Still, the dialogue is generally easy to follow and to understand. Again, technical limitations with the source material simply have to be expected and accepted here.

    AGFA also provides subtitles for the VJ version of Captain Alex in English, Croatian, Danish, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Russian, Spanish and, yes, Klingon and subtitles for the VJ-free version in English, Croatian, Danish, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian and Russian, making this a truly multicultural affair. Bad Black gets subtitles in English, Croatian, Danish, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Latin, Russian, Spanish and Swahili.

    IGG provides commentary tracks for both films. Oddly enough, the track for Captain Alex opens with a text piece that notes it was recorded under ‘perilous circumstances’ which might explain why it runs longer than the feature itself? Either way, both tracks are quite interesting and very, very passionate. Hofmanis joins in on the Alex track as they talk about how the project came to be, what went into creating a movie with pretty much no money, how so many people in the village helped out and lots more. The Bad Black track follows suit, as IGG praises those who worked with him, talks about some of the set pieces and goes over the history of the project.

    From there, check out the amusing Kickstarter fundraising video that’s been included here that runs eight-minutes. More substantial is the twenty-minute Q&A with IGG and some of the cast and crew members (via Skype) from the 2015 Fantasia Festival. It’s fun to see them answering questions on the spot and to see the reactions from those involved.

    There’s also a host of ‘welcome videos’ that were created for screenings that took place at various places and festivals in North America - Fantasia, Philamoca in Philadelphia, Invasion U.S.A., Proctors in Schenectady, New York and Third Man in Nashivlle, Tennessee. These run bewteen one and four minutes in length and they are pretty fun.

    Up next is a generous selection of fan videos, ranging in time from one-minute in length to just over eleven-minutes in length, and they’re all about as nutty as you’d expect them to be.

    Who Killed Captain Alex Animated / Tebaatusasula Reloaded / Commando vs. Tiger Mafia / Captain Alex Da Sequel / Paris vs. Wakaliwood / Return Of Uncle Nerfman / We Love Wakaliwood / Battlefield One Reveal Trailer / Captain Alex Da Turkish Rambo / Captain Alex Anime / Avengers vs. Tebaatusasula / Put Your Hands In Da Hair / Cool Cat Saves Wakaliwood (no, seriously) / Lets Watch Captain Alex / Captain Alex vs. MLG / Captain Alex vs. MLG Da Sequel / Wakaliwood On House Of Fools / Captain Alex vs. Japan

    There’s also a selection of trailers and commericals included here: Ugandan Film Centre / Qadafi Kapati TV Commercial / Who Killed Captain Alex (Original Version) / Black (Original Version) / Tebaatasusula / Bukunja Tekunja Mitti the Cannibals / Rescue Team / Return Of Uncle Benon. These run one to two minutes in length.

    From there, dig into the Wakaliwood Around The World Part 1 section where you’ll get a chance to check out a few amusing and interesting promotional and TV appearances: First Time On TV March 2013 / New Wave Of Ugandan Action Cinema (Vice TV) / IHE Search For The Worst / CCTV Africa October 2014 / Sahara TV Africa / In The Field Ugandan TV / Weltspiegel October 2015 / NTV Uganda

    As if that weren’t enough, Bad Black gets its own batch of supplements in addition to the aforementioned commentary track, starting with the twenty-seven-minute Behind The Scenes Of Bad Black featurettes. This takes us on set as the movie is being made to give us a look at what it’s like to work on a Wakaliwood production. It is, as you could have guessed by now, fairly insane. Definitely take the time to check this out. We also get another twenty-five-minute Q&A from Fantasia, conducted in 2017 and again done on Skype. If you enjoyed the first Q&A, you’ll enjoy this one as well.

    You want more Welcome Videos? You get those two, and here you’ll find little intros for screenings that took place at the World Premiere at the 2017 Fantastic Fest, the Fantasia Film Festival, the Brussels Film Festival, the Bucheon Film Festival, the Supa World Tour and screenings held in ‘Slovenia vs. Slovakia,’ Estonia, Seattle, Orlando, Australia, Mumbai, Paris, Nashville, San Sebastian, New Jersey, Vienna, Kazakhstan, Hollywood and the fine state of Wisconsin.

    Moving right along, we get a selection of music videos: Official Tourism Video Of Uganda, Thank You Grandma from Who Killed Captain Alex, Buddha Fire by Nakos Riddem Masta, King Kong Loves Da Blonde One by Go Go Gorillo, Time by The Shy Lips, Nocturno by Cuchillo de Fuego and Bruce U by Maniacs in Da Mailbox.

    After that, more trailers and clips: A Nice Audience In Texas, Black (Original Version), Who Killed Captain Alex (Remastered Version), Ugandan Expendables Operation Kakongoliro, Demon Village, Revenge, Ugandan Ghost Story 1, Revenge Ugandan Ghost Story 2, Eaten Alive In Uganda and Kasumaali Robot Test Footage. A lot of this material has little to do with Bad Black but if you enjoy what these guys are doing, you’ll get a kick out of it.

    Almost, but not quite, finished… there’s also the Wakaliwood Around The World Part 2 section with yet more news clips and assorted oddities such as:

    Ugandan Expendables On Live TV / Bad Black vs. MLB / Ebola Hunter Is Cooming / Madrid vs. Ebola / Wakaliwood On Arte Creative / Action Film Aus Dem Slum Wakaliga Zoom TV / After Bollywood - Uganda Brings Wakaliwood / City Magazine Africa / Welcome To Wakaliwood, CNN International October 2018 / Wakaliwood Meets Fangoria / Birthday Message For A Supa Fan

    AGFA also includes a DVD disc holding standard definition versions of the two films and identical extra features as well as some double-sided cover art.

    Wakaliwood Supa Action Volume 1: Who Killed Captain Alex? + Bad Black – The Final Word:

    AGFA’s Blu-ray/DVD combo pack release of Wakaliwood Supa Action Volume 1: Who Killed Captain Alex? + Bad Black presents two uniquely insane and wildly entertaining pictures in a more than passable presentation with an absolutely exhaustive selection of extra features. Those with an affinity for DIY and no-budget action pictures take note, this is the one you’ve been waiting for.

    Click on the images below for full sized Wakaliwood Supa Action Volume 1: Who Killed Captain Alex? + Bad Black Blu-ray screen caps!