Is This 3-Minute Nigerian Film Africa's Best Action Movie?

Nigerian filmmaker and Kung Fu fighter Tough Bone claims his three-minute movie is the best action flick ever created by an African.

Tough Bone in Shadow of Justice

Yesterday, I received an email from the creator of a three-minute, forty-one-second action-packed Nigerian movie. It’s the “best action film ever created by an African” the sender wrote.

It’s a ballsy move claiming to have made a continent’s greatest action movie, especially when the movie clocks in at under four minutes and is dialogue free. But wow, this thing is a beast.

The project’s writer, producer and star, Tough Bone (Odiboh Jeddy), as it turns out, is a filmmaker, martial artist, director, stuntman and actor living in Lagos. He’s also one of Nigeria’s top Kung Fu fighters. Or at least that’s what he tells us–and I don’t see any reason for us not to believe him. Nigerian producer Drey Beatz’s excellent score and South Africa-based director Ose Iria’s top-notch cinematography add to the film’s fight sequences.

Having grown up in Nigeria, Tough Bone tells us he’s seen all the action films that have been attempted by Nollywood filmmakers. “Some good ones with good directors, but the fight choreography and stunts aren’t very good.” This movie, he says, marks a break from Nollywood’s typical low-production action fare. “Shot on red and the cinematography is solid, fight sequences by real martial artists, real stunts and a nice story too. I haven't seen any other action film like this.”

And while this might not actually be Africa’s greatest action film, Shadow of Justice is still a really impressive feat.

Tough Bone hopes to adapt it into a full-length movie. He also has other story ideas to bring to light. Shadow of Justice is just the tip of the iceberg he says.

“One of my intents with this short film is to show people that it can be done in this part of the world.”

Update March 21, 2016: Tough Bone and the Shadow of Justice team are currently working on producing a full-length version of the film. Check out a brand new behind-the-scenes video of the short below.


6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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