Released in 2019, Merry Men 2: Another Mission is the sequel to the 2018 movie Merry Men: The Real Yoruba Demons. Ayo Makun hired an actual scriptwriter, Anthony Kehinde Joseph, for this one. Moses Iwang directed this (almost) classic.
Most of the original cast return to the movie, with new additions like Regina Daniels and Ufuoma McDermott, and interesting cameos like Warri Pikin.
The Merry Men have given up their life of thievery and retired to normal, still luxurious lives. Ayo (Ramsey Norah) and Dera (Damilola Adegbite) are planning their wedding. Naz (Jim Iyke) and Kemi (Rosaline Meurer) are already married, and might even be expecting a child. Free from Dame Maduka (Ireti Doyle), Amaju is free to fornicate as he likes, and Remi is…just there.
Everything goes south when Dame Maduka kidnaps Kemi and demands that the Merry Men destroy the evidence that the EFDC have on her. The Merry Men plan another heist. This time they have to work with the same group of female mercenaries that helped Maduka kidnap Kemi in the first place.
Merry Men 2 is gifted with a more fluid storyline and better-connected scenes, thanks to its new writer. We actually knew what was going on. The Real Yoruba Demons made us look around in desperation several times, but Another Mission had us nodding and smiling.
The introduction of female mercenaries, especially Zara Amina (Ufuoma McDermott) is a huge plus. Despite the weird plot hole (Zara being transferred a month to her release), their entrance was pretty exciting. They outsmart and overwhelm the Merry Men more than once, though whether this happens because the Merry Men are not very smart is worth debating.
Jim Iyke actually gives a great performance as the distressed husband of the hostage. His breakdowns brought tears to our eyes. Ufuoma McDermott also acted well as the brilliant, aloof assassin Zara, who is working against the Merry Men because Maduka has her son.
Set and Costume Design
We can always count on Merry Men to deliver the best set and costume design their big budget can offer. While the first movie was located in Abuja, Another Mission moves between Abuja and Lagos. Guest star the Lekki-Ikoyi bridge is as sturdy and mysterious as ever. The sets were especially beautiful, with the Merry Men living in luxurious houses. The clothes were stylish and well made.
After the horrifying action scenes from the first movie, part two’s scenes are a relief. It is not that there was a big improvement to the direction and stunts, but at least the camera had been taken from the overexcited child and interesting things were done.
The scene where a hooded stranger (who turns out to be Zara) plays Ayo’s piano while there is chaos in the background is absolutely beautiful. Ayo battles mercenaries, breaking a glass door and taking the violence into the pool, which is pretty cool.
Seeing Warri Pikin was entertaining and it would have been even better if she played a mercenary. We also commend how Kemi’s eyebrows remain perfect even after she’s kidnapped and held hostage for several days.
Story and Dialogue
Yes, this is a better story than the last one. Of course, there are still plot holes and loose threads. Zara being a government assassin and convicted murderer? She and Ramsey being armed robbers in the past? One of the mercenaries’ brothers had been poisoned for over a year and did he get the antidote at the end? And where did Dame Maduka go?
The dialogue was hardly better than the first movie, but the difference is that there were enough glamour and pretty sets to distract us. But that does not excuse how much pain the actors had to go through trying to work the script.
Either Ramsey Nouah wasn’t in the mood or the character of Ayo has become an empty shell. For someone who shot his best friend for dating his sister, Ayo doesn’t seem all that upset that said sister has been kidnapped. Maybe he’s in shock.
Ireti Doyle manages to be both exciting and underwhelming. Her Igbo is great and all, but she just doesn’t come off as intimidating enough.
As usual, the movie is funny in a way that makes you cringe a little or roll your eyes as you’re laughing. Ayo Makun manages to have the most unfunny character, for a professional comedian. Williams Uchemba as Johnny got a few laughs out of us but in the end, he was a bit annoying and unnecessary. Falz should have been given more screen time, being the main comic relief.
Though better than the last, the action in this movie is still pretty bad. The effects of bullets flying at the end are horrifying. In an earlier scene, Amaju sends men somersaulting into the air by simply standing up, and it is hilarious. We won’t talk about the CGI because we really can’t expect much and it’s entertaining anyway.
Another Mission is a huge improvement on the franchise, but it is still nowhere near its potential. A successful action franchise might be what Nollywood needs to become even bigger, and we hope that a third instalment can turn Merry Men into a classic.