The review of iNumber Number: the gold of Johannesburg, a South African film where a duo of policemen tries to defeat local crime, only to collide with various unforeseen and unexpected betrayals.
The story at the base of starts from afar iNumber Number: the language of Johannesburgoriginal production Netflix which we tell you about in this review, which recently climbed the ranking of the most viewed films on the platform. In fact, the film belongs to a franchise that originally saw its first big screen incarnation in Avenged (2013), only to find further expansion four years later in the television series of the same name iNumber Number.
We thus find some of the protagonists grappling with a story that once again takes us into the folds and wounds of South African crime, with rocky and tenacious policemen ready to do anything to stop the shady trafficking of ruthless criminals. All with the peculiarity of being filmed almost entirely in the Zulu language, an idiom that is not often heard on our screens.
Fighting against evil
Chili Ngcobo is an undercover cop who is weary and disillusioned as some of his latest missions have gone nowhere and several criminal gangs have been acquitted in the absence of hard evidence. For his new assignment, he decides to risk everything in order to frame a powerful local boss, a trafficker in gold bars. The plan is studied in detail and in the actual implementation, despite some unforeseen events, things seem to be going well at least until Chili, and his trusted colleague and friend Shoes Moshoeshoe, discover they have been deceived. Once again empty-handed, they suffer a harsh reprimand from the surly and devious local police commander, but Chili is immediately ready for another chance when he is asked to infiltrate a gang of expert thieves, the whose motto is to a modern Robin Hood. The agent ends up sharing more and more the robbers’ cause, risking ruining his career and that of his partner. But soon the two will have other pitfalls to face.
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Black & Furious
From the beginning, with the “drone flight” shots, an accompanying hip/hop and rap music soundtrack and a marked style in the choice of costumes and sets, we understand the deliberately tamarra stylistic code of the operation, which returns to peep out on several occasions during the two-hour viewing. Between wild and free disco ballets, complete with twerking unstoppable, slow-motion martial arts scenes that clash with the indigenous setting and other references that recall an automotive imagery at the Fast & Furious, the film demonstrates a poor and derivative essence, referring to all too consolidated stereotypes in a far more than improbable way. Sui generis villains, thieves who – quoting the motto verbatim – “they steal from the rich to give back to the people” and unexpected betrayals, with a couple of protagonists who would like to recall atmospheres Infernal Affairs and rivals, characterize a screenplay that is not very captivating and often improbable, overloaded with forcing.
From a wife who finds herself giving birth in the middle of a crucial mission to a contrived “pet” hyena to ridiculous effect, down to last-minute showdowns and rushes, iNumber Number: the language of Johannesburg it is dominated by a chaotic hubbub that takes the breath away from the characters, certainly not helped by a cast that is either too anonymous or – antithetically – excessively over the top. So much so that the various places that surround the story end up giving reasons of interest, with the city of Johannesburg being shown in many of its symbolic places, with melancholic sunsets in the background. On the other hand, photography is perhaps the only added technical value of an otherwise ramshackle film.
Two policemen (re) find themselves fighting against a corrupt system and to get the better of the criminal gangs they will have to play a double game, infiltrating the gangs that “steal from the rich to give back to the poor” and then come to terms with their own conscience , ending up not being able to trust anything or anyone. As we told you in the review of iNumber Number: Johannesburg’s gold, this South African production does not shine for direction and acting, with a screenplay full of forcing and paradoxical situations that refer to various stereotypes and clichés, updated in an indigenous sauce without particular inspiration.
Because we like it
- The city of Johannesburg is an evocative background and photography enhances it on several occasions.
- An unbalanced cast.
- The screenplay is full of forcing and improbability, as well as being quite derivative.
- Registically poor and without flashes, both in the action dynamics and in the more tensive ones.