Awfully Good: Wakaliwood’s Crazy World

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

Wakaliwood's Crazy World (2020)

Director: Nabwana I.G.G.
Stars: Isaac Newton Kizito, Bisaso Dauda, Bukenya Charles

Wakaliwood Crazy World poster

When a group of children are kidnapped by the ever-present Tiger Mafia, their parents each set off on a roaring rampage of revenge to rescue them. But these kung fu kids may not need help from any adults…

Regular readers of this column should no doubt be familiar with Wakaliwood—the makeshift Ugandan movie studio that is home to "da best of da best" action movies. Their first two widely-released films, WHO KILLED CAPTAIN ALEX? and BAD BLACK, are each a complete blast and highly recommended—just pure gifts to cinema filled with heart and creativity, made by people who truly love movies. (If you're not familiar with Wakaliwood, I suggest you read our articles on those two films for an introduction, because they're both something special.)

Wakaliwood Crazy World globe
2020 in a nutshell.

In their latest offering of undisputed genius, director Isaac Nabwana and Co. focus on the future action stars of Uganda. You might recognize several faces from previous Wakaliwood films like Bisaso Dauda and Bukenya Charles; however, the real stars are not the adult ass kickers, but the child actors (one of whom is Nabwana's own son, Isaac Newton). The kids are great fighters and hold their own during the many action scenes, not to mention have a natural comedic timing. If watching pint-sized martial artists mimic iconic Jean Claude Van Damme poses and bark orders like Colonel Trautman from Rambo sounds fun, you're in for a treat.

While building much of the movie around younger performers is entertaining, it also serves a sadly practical purpose: one of Nabwana's goals in making this movie was to show that children are capable of fighting back in the hopes of scaring off potential kidnappers, which is both depressing and delightful.

Wakaliwood Crazy World ugandan ninja
Now with 100% less Michael Dudikoff.

On a technical level, CRAZY WORLD might be Wakaliwood's best movie yet. It's the first of their films to be shot with HD cameras, which makes it literally clearer just how much talent the director has and how he's only getting better with each movie. It's truly amazing what Nabwana and his crew are able to do on their own from a slum in Uganda with basic equipment, homemade props, and DIY effects and ingenuity. (Not to mention unreliable electricity.)

The fights and the action scenes continue to impress, especially considering the budget and the fact that most everyone is self-taught. (Nabwana figured out fighting techniques using old magazines and training manuals.) There's a real love of 80s action cinema that shines through, which I know readers of this site will enjoy. That means blood, bullets and explosions galore, with one-liners and body counts that would make Schwarzenegger and Stallone proud. Much of it is pure insanity, but I appreciate that everything is shot so it's easy to tell what's going on, whether it's an extended fight between two martial arts masters, a shootout with a single commando taking on fifteen bad guys, or a foot chase through an entire village. And even though they clearly reuse the same available locations, you still get a sense of geography that many action filmmakers lack or don't bother with.

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This girl's Chun Li impression is on point.

With this style of filmmaking and forced creativity, there's definitely a "no f*cks given" approach that's refreshing in its unpredictability. You truly never know what you're in for with a Wakaliwood movie, which is what makes it so much fun compared to standard western fare. That might mean introducing a character onscreen by actually showing clips from other movies you may have seen him in and even giving you a preview of an upcoming one. Or maybe interrupting the film again for an elaborate anti-piracy ad where someone literally hunts down internet pirates from all over the world (in this case, real life Wakaliwood fans) and gruesomely murders them. Or perhaps having a title card that takes the name of the movie very literally and shows a guy with a globe on his head committing suicide. Some of it may seem weird or out there, but that's just part of the charm.

It's mostly fun and games, but Nabwana also takes the opportunity to spotlight some real issues in Uganda, from the aforementioned problem of African children being kidnapped and trafficked to police corruption to class disparity between the poor and rich. You also get a firsthand look at how pirated movies are sold in bigger cities in the country, which is a detriment to any profits Wakaliwood and its many cast and crew might see.

Wakaliwood Crazy World action movies
Flashback to my mom in 1997 when I spent the summer watching FACE/OFF and CON AIR over and over again.

These movies are great on their own, but I have to again call out the Video Joker narrator and how he adds such an insane level of entertainment to the proceedings. These movies really wouldn't be the same without VJ Emmie's iconic commentary and luckily he is back in full force once again—cheering on the action scenes, cracking inappropriate jokes, catching the audience up on the plot and characters, and just generally being the film's biggest fan. And not in a subtle way either. I lost count of the times VJ Emmie randomly yells out, "CRAZY WORLD! Best movie ever!" or stops to comment on what a great job the director is doing and what a great father he is.

It's also not often that I actually laugh out loud watching something by myself at home, but that happened more than once here, including a random video game joke towards the end that had me cheering.

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Well, he's definitely got the splits down.

At this point, a new Wakaliwood movie is a cinematic event. Few things have proven as entertaining or rewatchable for me than these films and the aptly titled CRAZY WORLD is exactly what this messed-up planet needs right now. I know Nabwana has a number of movies already shot and in the bag. If we could get just one more this year, maybe we could redeem what's left of 2020.

Wakaliwood Crazy World stay safe

Fine without it.

Wakaliwood Crazy World Buy the Movie Watch the Movie

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • VJ Emmie giggles
  • VJ Emmie compliments the movie or the director
  • Someone says the title of the movie
  • Eggplants are mentioned

Double shot if:

  • VJ Emmie says, "Expect the unexpectable!"


Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email and give him an excuse to drink.


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