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‘Bad Black’ Review – Fantasia Fest 2017

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Bad Black straight from Wakaliwood! This fun gem is one of the few Ugandan forays into the action film genre. Supposedly costing $65 and taking five years to make, this still shows the passionate effort of the filmmakers and the people in the town where it took place. Sure, it has bad special effects, hammy acting, and is a little difficult to follow at times. That being said, it is so much fun!

Bad Black starts out with a long sequence of a man and a boy robbing a building. There is then a prolonged car chase with shootouts, collisions, and explosions. It then transitions to the story of a young destitute girl who grows up to become a criminal named Bad Black. At first, she seems like a run of the mill villain but it becomes apparent later on that she has a larger agenda.

The first noticeable aspect of the film is that it is completely narrated by a DJ. They don’t  advance the story but comment on it like in the style of Mystery Science Theater. At first, it seems a little jarring and his jokes are crass but there were moments when his commentary was useful. Those times when the story was a little hard to follow, the narrator did indeed come in handy.

The screenplay is quite interesting as well. There are many intertwining subplots that tie together for one long narrative. It didn’t seem so at first, but by the end, every scene connects in some way. What is also surprising is that while the film touts action as the big draw, there is quite a bit of social commentary. It discusses poverty at length and conveys the issues of the differing social classes.

It’s quite obvious that the filmmakers wanted to emulate Hollywood, even so far as to call it Wakaliwood, although the style is more reminiscent of Bollywood because of the mixture of genres and abundance of content mixed in. There is action, comedy, drama, and there’s even a concert scene. Seeing a film with so much passion and commitment without an ounce of cynicism is so refreshing. While Wakaliwood may not be much now, with this momentum they could really make a splash in the future.

Find tickets and showtimes on Fandango.

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