Starring: Kakule William, Sserunya Ernest, Nakyambadde Prossy
Director: Nabwana I.G.G.
Running Time: 64 mins
Who Killed Captain Alex is a Ugandan film about the events that unfold after a captain is killed by the notorious Tiger Mafia, however his brother arrives on the scene to investigate his death and avenge him.
The word ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ doesn’t even feel like it can fit this film. As Uganda’s alleged first action movie, Who Killed Captain Alex is an incredibly unique and consistently surprising movie, featuring all sorts of creative elements that not even Hollywood could think of. In that, it’s an impressive watch, however the majority of the film, what with its incredibly low production quality, amateur performances and often completely incoherent story mean that it’s not an objectively good film, and as much as it can offer you a different type of blockbuster, it’s not quite good enough in any other way.
First, a bit of backstory. This film is made by the people living in a small-ish Ugandan town outside the capital Kampala, with all of the editing, directing, special effects and more done on location and brought together with what looks like Windows Movie Maker. As a result, it’s very easy to relate to as what is little more than a home movie that was never meant to be seen outside the village itself.
Now, this is where it’s hard to form a concrete opinion on how good this film objectively is. Given that it was made on a budget of $200 and only meant to be shown to people who knew the actors, it’s obviously not going to be a masterpiece, and more there for the fun of seeing your friends acting on screen, like whenever you make a home movie of your own.
Another thing is that the film is clearly a labour of love, and as bad as it is, it’s clear that there’s a lot of heart behind it, something that makes it a far more pleasant watch given the fact that it’s so innocent, rather than the worst of the worst movies which are both bad and simply hateful.
Now, let’s get into the details. Above all, you’ll notice how low the production quality of this movie is, with none of the actors’ speech picked up properly by microphones, special effects that would make the 1930s cry with laughter, various actors playing multiple roles with little appearance change, and props made out of whatever was lying around.
So, you have guns made out of guttering, and dialogue that can barely be heard. Yet again, that’s evidence of how the film is little more than a home movie, but when we’re looking at it objectively, it is laughably bad, and regularly takes away from any attempt to engross you in the story at hand.
When it comes to the story, that’s the one part of this film that I flat-out didn’t like. While the poor production quality and the like are all bad, that’s out of circumstance, however the story itself is both boring and pretty much incomprehensible.
While there are good bursts of action throughout, the majority of the plot is a bizarre series of events where we see some people plotting to kill some bad people, the Tiger Mafia, but it’s pretty hard to tell who’s who and what the whole situation is, simply because the story doesn’t really bother with character development or anything.
Now, all the home movies I’ve made have exactly the same problem, but the difference is that Who Killed Captain Alex is a full hour long, and that means it really can drag and get boring when the film is trying to develop the story a bit more.
In general, it’s fair to say that Who Killed Captain Alex is a very bad movie, in part because of its low production quality, and in part because of its genuinely awful story. However, there is one element of the movie that is a genuine stroke of genius, and single-handedly makes the entire watch ten times better than it would have been without: the Video Joker.
Now, the Video Joker is effectively a guy (with no relation to the plot or anything to do with the film) who comments on the events throughout the movie. That may sound like a narrator, and while he does fill the role of a narrator at times, the majority of his commentary is effectively like listening to a man who’s just watching the movie with you.
Sometimes he randomly shouts the words: ‘MOVIE MOVIE MOVIE ACTION’, and at others he screams ‘WELCOME TO UGANDA’. Sometimes he advertises the sequel in the middle of a scene, and at others he just talks over the characters’ dialogue with his thoughts on the scene. Sometimes he translates for us, and sometimes he doesn’t.
Basically, the Video Joker is an unpredictable can of worms that’s just madly entertaining throughout. His commentary is definitely unorthodox, and at times very intrusive, but his input makes for a very unique and often very entertaining movie-watching experience, and undoubtedly makes Who Killed Captain Alex a far better movie that it would have been.
Overall, then, it’s clear what sort of a movie this is. Pretty much incomparable to normal Hollywood standards, and equally bizarre in terms of everything else, it’s an undoubtedly unique, although unquestionably awful film, and that’s why I’m giving it a 0.9.