AKA: Who Killed Captain Alex?: Uganda’s First Action Movie
Genre: Action/Dark Comedy/Parody
Year Released: 2010
Running Time: 68 minutes
Rating/Recommended Audience: 17+
Related Films/Series: Tebaatusasula, Bad Black, Tebaatusasula: Ebola
For Fans Of: Tropic Thunder, Atomic Falafel, Austin Powers, Kung Fu Hustle, Magic Cop, Tongan Ninja, Rush Hour
-Who Killed Captain Alex? is technically a lost film, but it survives on the Wakaliwood YouTube page with the Video Joker version and the director’s commentary version. Both were restored through a low-res DVD copy.
-I watched the Video Joker version which is considered to be the main version when it comes to streaming.
-Special thanks to Nsereko for recommending this film. Check out his Facebook page and his Redbubble merch page.
-Who Killed Captain Alex? was allegedly made with only $200 USD, but there has been talk from Alan Hofmanis that it might be closer to $85 in the budget.
-Music Fan Bonus: There are four times in the movie where an instrumental version of “Kiss From a Rose” by Seal is played in hilarious moments. This isn’t the first time that song would be used in a movie since that Seal song was originally made for Batman Forever.
-Wakaliwood is named after founder/chief director Isaac Godfrey Geoffrey Nabwana AKA Nabwana IGG’s neighborhood in Wakaliga in Kampala (also Uganda’s capital and largest city for those scoring at home). Nabwana IGG grew up with limited experience in going to movie theaters and relied on his friends telling him what they saw. Wakaliwood is a sister distribution company of his film studio Ramon Film Productions which is taken from his grandmother’s names Rachel and Monica. Who Killed Captain Alex is his 3rd film ever created.
-Hilarious in Hindsight: VJ Emmie, the Video Joker/Narrator comments that Bruce U is a “Supa Kicker” when fighting. I’m sure he’d be right at home with the Young Bucks and they can do an epic SUPERKICK PARTY on everyone! Wow, I never thought I’d reference wrestling this much in an Ugandan movie review.
Four down, one more to go. I made a notch in my “African movies from countries that didn’t get representation on Iridium Eye” list. It’s been a long time, but I finally got to review an Ugandan movie for once. Uganda hasn’t received that much mainstream attention in movies with the exception of The Last King of Scotland and Queen of Katwe. I would’ve never known about the cinema in the Pearl of Africa had it not have been for a pro wrestler from that country by the name of Nsereko after hearing about him through Wrestling Resurgence’s Everything Patterned event. We’ve exchanged multiple emails with each other and he’s been awesome to communicate with. He’s told me awesome things about the movies, music, and culture there when he’s not making waves and winning titles in the BritWres scene. Speaking of which, him and his tag team partner “The Big Cat” Sebb Strife have a record 433 day reign as the Tidal Tag Team Champions. Guess what the name of their tag team is? The Lion Kings. I cannot make this up to save my life, but at least Nsereko agreed that Disney was bogus in THAT trademark issue (he’s fluent in Swahili) when I brought it up to him and I know they aren’t going to bastardize African cultures like Mickey Mouse had with the movie they’re named after on principle. Besides that, he’s been awesome with me and he would definitely be considered good people. Webale, Nsereko! He mentioned Wakaliwood and I finally made time to check out one of their movies.
Who’s ready for some crazy Ugandan movie action?
Who Killed Captain Alex? takes place in the streets of Kampala. The Uganda People’s Defense Force has to take down the nefarious Tiger Mafia who’ve been wreaking havoc in Uganda’s capital. The UPD’s top officer is Captain Alex who manages to gun down various Tiger Mafia members as well as capturing one of their men. However, one of the captives is the brother of Richard who is the don of this criminal organization. His brother dies by Alex’s hands and he vows revenge. The Tiger Mafia sends in Vicky (AKA the Ugandan Mata Hari) as a spy to infiltrate the authorities and to seduce Captain Alex. Unfortunately, Alex is shot dead, but nobody knows who did it. All of this leads to several gunfights and martial arts brawls going on as both sides vow for revenge.
I totally wasn’t expecting a movie like this and it’s been a long time since I laughed a lot watching a movie. While this was a low budget film, there was a good amount of heart, effort, and humor that I needed to check out (context: I wrote this review during the coronavirus pandemic hitting America hard). There was so much wacky action and zingers that it was hard for me not to enjoy it. I enjoyed how it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously and was intentionally supposed to be comedic. This was so much better than that Congo-Brazzaville No One short I reviewed last year. The gunfights get crazy and the martial arts stuff with Bruce U are funny as well as hard-hitting. Having all of this action and comedy made Who Killed Captain Alex? the movie that Osaka Tough Guys should’ve been. The comedy is actually funny even if it gets morbid at times and at least they don’t make any rape jokes like that aforementioned Miike film. Some of the funny stuff involves that instrumental cover of “Kiss From a Rose” played at intentionally inappropriate times, some of the dialog between the characters, and the pinnacle was VJ Emmie being the video joker. I wasn’t aware of this concept, but video jokers are a thing in Ugandan movies that involve someone offering hilarious commentary to movies. VJ Emmie was comedy gold and he was almost a character himself in the story despite not being scene. He makes jokes about the Tiger Mafia walking slow “because they think slow”, calling Bruce U an Ugandan Shaolin Monk, crying over-dramatically during death scenes, and making jokes where one of the characters gets tortured by saying she is punished for watching Nigerian movies instead of Ugandan ones. After that scene gets more brutal, he says (pretending to be the victim) “I’ll never watch Nollywood [movies] again!” There were so many funny lines kind of like Shinesman or Sailor Victory’s respective dubs which was so good. It’s better by not being this serious crime drama or anything like that and the wacky atmosphere surprisingly clicked with me.
Who Killed Captain Alex? does take a few bullets though. Remember how I said this was a low budget and couldn’t have cost more than $200 to make? It really shows. While the comedy does transcend the videography, the special effects are super tacky. There’s incongruous CGI and green screen effects that can be really distracting even with the comedy going on (especially the helicopter scenes). There were some good pop songs used, but most of the other music felt cheap. It was also hard to keep track of all the characters even though the body count gets high throughout the whole film. There were so many legitimately funny moments, but some jokes fell flat for me. Richard’s wife taking abuse in different parts wasn’t funny to me and there was one VJ Emmie comment that made me facepalm. When one character is talking about making German food outside, he makes a joke about there being parts of German soldiers in the pot. A cannibalism joke? Really? Talk about railing against African savage imagery (I’m being sarcastic, you know). Those were some of the lowest points of this action parody flick.
In any other circumstance, I might have bashed this film, but I was surprised by how entertaining it was. Some people may call it a “so bad, it’s good” kind of film where I can see the logic in that, but I think that would be selling Who Killed Captain Alex? short. Most of the comedy had the right amount of wackiness to it, the people had so much fun in making and acting on it. The VJ Emmie narration was hilarious and the parody element worked more often than not. The low-budget production was hit or miss and there were times where things fell a bit flat. Despite this, there was a self-awareness with how wacky this movie is and everyone involved was in on the joke. This was a fun enjoyable action parody flick and it raised my mood watching it. Who Killed Captain Alex? isn’t a masterpiece, but you will laugh watching it.
P. S. I did an entire review on an Ugandan movie without referencing that stupid Ugandan Knuckles meme! How you like them apples, blogging world?
Adjustable Rating System:
Add 1-2 points if you like comedy in your action movies.
Add 1 point if you like Wakaliwood movies.
Subtract 1-2 point if you want at least decent production values.
Subtract 2-4 points if you want your foreign movies to be more serious.
-Hilarious commentary from VJ Emmie
-So much heart put into the movie
-Stays entertaining throughout
-Very low budget
-Confusion with some of the characters
-Some jokes felt forced or cringey
Final Score: 7/10 points
Content Warning: Who Killed Captain Alex? is NOT FOR KIDS! This movie gets as bloody as a Tarantino flick with all the fights going on. There’s a high body count, domestic abuse, sexual innuendo, torture, and very strong language in both English and Luganda. Some of the jokes get out there with cannibalism and Ugandans “enjoying” martial law.
All photos property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws. Who Killed Captain Alex? is property of Wakaliwood. The painting is from IMDb and is property of Wakaliwood.