Daddy begins in a Taken-esque manner: daughter gets kidnapped and the father has to do all he can to get his daughter back. This desperation of a father to save his child is the overriding theme of the plot but it is quickly shelved not long into the film as other characters take centre stage. The father-and-daughter struggle is swept to the sidelines, and the kidnappers take all the focus. It is Bella’s (Zenitta Yakubu) birthday and her dad, played by Femi Jacobs, takes her out for some daddy-daughter time. The outing goes awry when they are attacked by carjackers who speed off with Bella in the car. The stage is set for some heroic dad feats, right? The filmmakers think not, instead we are told another story, the story of Flex (Olanrewaju ‘Dipsen’ Oladipo), a terminally sick criminal who after a job gone wrong has to carry out a mission for a crime boss. Is the mission to kidnap a young child for the crime boss? We really are not sure but he delivers Bella to the boss and he has to make an unlikely decision to redeem himself.
Considering the title of this film, a viewer might spend the ninety minutes runtime wondering whose story they have actually come to watch. We see Femi Jacobs’ character chasing after the robbers in a keke for about 30 minutes, then the rest is an exposition of Flex and how he got into his current situation. The perspective chosen to tell the plot of the film does not fit the overriding idea of the plot. Instead of us being kept on our toes about Bella’s safety and how her father would rescue her, we are taken through Flex’s struggles with his sickness and his life of crime, essentially a redemption arc for the character and we totally forget about ‘Daddy’ until the end. Are we meant to sympathize with criminals who wilfully put a family through the trauma of a kidnap, someone who has spent 30 years deep in the world of crime?
The perspective from which this story is told is not necessarily uninteresting, but it is inadequately set up. The tension and thrill that is supposed to be displayed in the action thriller is misguided and the character who should be the titular hero has most of his actions ending up as boring and inconsequential. It could easily be considered as an attempted comic relief from the tension created by the actions of other characters. In the midst of all that is going on, the film, directed by Austin Iria, wants us to believe that the kidnapped girl somehow develops some Stockholm syndrome that makes her trust her kidnapper even though there is barely any interaction between them.
With inadequate direction, all parts of the film suffer, and the actors appear to have their skills underutilised, leading to a very underwhelming performance by the cast. Femi Jacobs (Battle on Buka Street) wouldn’t be wrong if he is left fuming with the limited participation of his character in a titular film. Olanrewaju Oladipo puts in some energetic effort, but viewers might be kept pondering why they are watching his character’s story in ‘Daddy’s film’. Even Floyd Igbo, who plays Southern (one of the kidnappers), whose talent I am familiar with, looks like a fish out of water.
In Daddy, instead of seeing a heroic father saving his daughter from the hands of kidnappers, we are made to romanticise the criminals who should be the villains of the story. This is a classic example of a book with the wrong cover.
Daddy premiered on June 9 in cinemas.
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- The film wouldn’t have been more than 30 minutes long, if he had just called his wife when he got a phone; asked her to call the police; and track his phone.
- Why would carjackers drive that slow.
- The film focuses more on the relationships between the criminals than that of the ‘Daddy’ and his Daughter.
- Plenty of pointless dialogue.
- Why were they forgetting to add sound in some scenes?
- The kidnappers carry out the operation barefaced but are suddenly worried that the police has seen their face.
- The keke driver’s village people are really strong.