JAGUN JAGUN, an in-depth summary by Jane Obonomen
JAGUN JAGUN is an epic movie that emphasizes the use of charms as a prerequisite for winning battles. The potency of a warrior’s charms will determine his victory or defeat. All the kings in the movie are throne grabbers hired by the dreadful warlord, Ogundiji, who dethrones and frustrates the rightful heirs.
The movie starts with Ogundiji (Femi Adebayo)walking majestically to his throne in his abode, Oba Kayeja, his only audience smiling at him as a narrator gives insight into Ogundiji’s mercenary résumé; showing Ogundiji as he saves the life of Oba Kayeja and kills a charmed warlord who has just demanded the ancestral crown of the kingdom.
The warlord makes to behead Oba Kayeja but is suddenly amputated by Ogundiji, who has quietly made an entrance but makes a majestic exit, riding on horseback.
The next scene shows Gbotija (Lateef Adedimeji) walking in the forest but is stopped by the sudden fall of a Baobab tree right in front of him. He speaks to the tree and by his powers, erects it again. He walks past and the tree falls again right behind him. The narrator introduces him as one who possesses the power of the woods, who knows the name of every tree in the forest and he’s on his way to Ogundiji’s school of warriors.
At the school of warriors, students are inducted and trained, including Wehinwo, who is sent by the collective effort of his villagers.
A dethroned king is attacked in his farmland by his throne snatcher. Hence, a battle line is drawn. This shameless throne snatcher reports to Ogundiji who sends his three Generals and an army. At the battleground, while Ogundiji’s soldiers are being killed cheaply, his three Generals opt to roast yams as they feel condescended to have been sent to such a small battle. A spiritual chart is sent to Ogundiji to view the defeat.
He angrily invokes his instrument of death, a demonic assassin, called Agemo to the battleground. Ogundiji soldiers watch in awe as Agemo appears and slays all his opposition in a flash and disappears afterwards. Ogundiji decrees seven days of imprisonment without food and water on his three Generals as punishment for their crime.
That night, food is served in small portions.
While the soldiers grumble, only Gbotija is bold enough to challenge the servers. He dares the maidens to return the food. They do but return with an angry Princess, Kitan (Bukunmi Oluwashina), who teaches him a lesson. He is severely flogged.
While the soldiers tend to his wounds, she is moved with compassion and sends him a bowl of oranges to soothe his pain.
They become friends and soon after, she puts him in charge of food. Food is surplus enough that Wehinwo saves some for the imprisoned Generals. Ogundiji gets a spiritual alert and appears in the prison. Angry at Wehinwo’s guts, he orders the fed prisoners to burn him alive as a lesson to others.
Wehinwo’s remains is sent to his village. His agonized lover who has rejected rich suitors in expectation of his knightly return seeks revenge by sending death spirits to Ogundiji’s wife. The death spirits appear and fire guns at Erinfunto (Fathia Balogun), Ogundiji’s wife twice.
Gbotija dashes in early enough to halt the third shot and turn their guns to wood with incantations. After Gbotija meets with her warlord husband, Erinfunto is disappointed that her life saver was not rewarded. On his way out, Gbotija meets with Gbogunmi (Ibrahim Yekini), the third most powerful man in the kingdom after Ogundiji and Agemo, who appreciates his effort in saving his Lord’s wife’s life and promises to gift him with charms.
At the festival of Ori, Gbotija is hailed for his ability to throw in an arrow within some moving roped rings. Kitan tells him that only her father has been able to do that. Meanwhile, one of Ogundiji’s hirers has planted a thought in his heart to do something immediately about Gbotija’s popularity. The next scene shows Gbotija’s visit to Gbogunmi’s.
This is where the audience knows his roots. He is from Iwon village. When he was a little boy, his village was attacked and he was quickly hidden in a tree for safety by his father who is a wood carver. His mission at the school of warriors is to be skilled enough to avenge his father’s death. Gbogunmi is endeared to him and gifts him a charm called ‘when the battle is tough’.
The next scene shows Gbotija before Ogundiji and Wise One where he is told that he must pass through three tough tests before he can be promoted. The first test is to kill Gbogunmi, his second in command, reputed for his fierceness in battle and popularly called ‘warrior of death’, in a duel. Meanwhile, Ogundiji has instructed Gbogunmi to kill Gbotija.
At the arena, Gbotija is beaten but he manages to slay Gbogunmi with his own blade. However, Gbotija cries over Gbogunmi’s corpse calling him father.
The second test is to be covered in a coffin for seven days without food and water. In his attempt to retreat and reject promotion, Kitan, his lover urges him to go on otherwise her father will not approve of her marriage to a coward like him. They make love that day. On the third day, in her worry about his well-being, Kitan carries water to the coffin and calls out to him. He responds from within that he is hale and hearty.
Ogundiji hears this conversation from his bedroom and orders that the coffin be dropped in the river. Gbotija chants continuously for the wood to split. It does and he escapes death. He traces his steps back to the palace where he is hailed by other soldiers, much to Ogundiji’s chagrin.
The third test is to go to Wehinwo’s village and annihilate them for the previous murder attempt on his wife. He is to go with only three junior soldiers. When they arrive there, the people of Alaje are celebrating the festival of wealth. Irrespective, the warlord must be obeyed, and so the Alajes are murdered in the middle of the festival.
Of the four soldiers, only Gbotija survives. On his way back to the palace, he encounters Ogundiji’s weapon of death, Agemo. He pleads for his life but Agemo is deaf to his plea. In his defence, he calls on the spirit of the woods to aid him. They respond and strike Agemo. Gbotija unveils Agemo’s mask to discover Iroyinogunkitan, his lover, behind it. His victory turns to defeat as he is helpless.
He chants for the withdrawal of the stick from her belly but this does not undo the hurt. She is bleeding as she unveils some truths to Gbotija. She is not Ogundiji’s biological daughter. She was captured as a child when Ogundiji raided her village and saw that she had a spiritual mark. He decided that he could put it to use. Ogindijji controls her spirit to do his bidding as she is not powerful enough to resist him. She dies in Gbotija’s arms.
Gbotija carries her corpse in his hands to Ogundiji’s palace. He tells the Queen that her husband killed the child. She does not believe because, in her words, a parent will not kill his offspring and a dog won’t fight its child. Here, Gbotija gives a charge to his fellow soldiers that they have only been puppets to Ogundiji’s selfishness. He then reveals to the queen that Ogundiji has a son kept privately from her.
Ogundiji suddenly appears in their presence. Erinfunto demands that he calls Gbotija’s bluff but he dares her to do her worst instead.
She screams betrayal as she realises that she has been cheated all along, despite their agreement to use her womb as a sacrifice for him to be warlord. As he wages war, Ogundiji eulogizes himself and mentions territories he has conquered, Iwon inclusive. Gbotija is enraged at the mention of Iwon.
Ogundiji has just brought Gbotija’s vengeful journey to a close by revealing to him the murderer of his father and his people. Painfully, Ogundiji has robbed Gbotija more than once, first, of his foster father, his lover and now his biological father. With the collective effort of Enifunto and Gbotija, Ogundiji is slain.
The last scene shows a charmed warlord dismounting from a horse at Ogundiji’s palace, to meet Wise One at the entrance who tells him that ‘the finest calabash in the house has broken. . . The head is gone and there is no one to watch over the animals.’ The warlord shouts ‘Ogundiji’ twice. Movie ends
It will be fascinating to see a second installation of this movie.
Let us now discuss the irregularities in the movie.
No 1. I do not see any reason Kitan did not tell Gbotija that she is not Ogundiji’s true daughter. She had the opportunity to tell her lover that she is the one behind the mask of Agemo but she chose lovemaking instead.
He wouldn’t have loved her less, neither would that exposure have caused any conflict between them. In fact, it could have saved her life. Keeping it secret was totally pointless.
No 2. Gbotija is referred to as a young boy especially by Gbogunmi who he regards as a father, except they almost look like age mates.
No 3. The facial expressions of the Kings and Wise One at the Arena during the duel between Gbotija and Gbogunmi was not necessary. It’s not like Gbotija has a glorious knightly reputation.
I think they played out of script, especially the young Queen who was forming a worrisome letter O with her lips as if it was her husband that was being beaten in the Arena.
No 4. Share your own thoughts.