Nigerian Movies Review
Gamblers – 2011
Repackaged as Open Fire
Story – Solomon Apete, Ikenna Emma Aniekwe
Screenplay – Nkem Alu
Director – Ikenna Emma Aniekwe
Producer – George Edmund

Nkem Owoh – Odinaka
Charles Inojie – Emeka
Uche Ogbodo – Uju
Anita Joseph – Uka
John Okafor – Ofunwa
Jim Lawson Maduike – Odenigbo
Geraldine Ekeocha – Nwaka
Kennedy Kalu – Ufere
Chinelo Oloh – Ebere
Chinyere Nwabueze – Ije
Leo Ewuzie – Nnaji
Emeka Amakeze – Chike

America/ Costa Rica/ Puerto Rico or “Abroad” as The Promised Land
Saving Face
419 Fraud

NollywoodForever Rating – 86%

Nkem Owoh plays Odinaka a returnee who has recently come to Nigeria from Contonou. Charles Inojie plays Emeka a returnee who has just returned to his village from Costa Rica, and toppling Odinaka in terms of coming from further abroad. They are back in the village using their tall tales of living abroad and riches to woo girls and even to manipulate their families and friends.


The Mysterious “Abroad”
No one even realises how Costa Rica changes to Puerto Rico and back again. The location of Costa Rica changes from Asia to the Middle East. No one seems to realise that not only does Emeka not know where Costa Rica is but he keeps changing the location. Simply the mysterious air of the words Costa Rica is enough to enthrall people in the village and keep them impressed. Like Emeka Odinaka keeps expressing his “Frenchness” spouting off random words in a French accent and talking about “France” as if that somehow elevates his status. Whenever he is insulted about his clearly poverty stricken status he argues that he is a “potential rich man” In one scene Emeka’s parents ask him where Costa Rica is and he tells them “Costa Rica is the country where God and his angels live… Very close to heaven”

Every time Emeka would want to get his own way be it with his mother, friends or girlfriend he would exclaim, “in Costa Rica we don’t do that.” In one scene he tells his mother, “Come on your son is a big boy. In Costa Rica I dine with the President” When he wants to make out with Uju in the streets he told her, “in Costa Rica we kiss everywhere.” I never got bored of it and laughed every time. This is the same Costa Rica which he would not be able to point out on a map or even know what language they speak. It shows how easily people can be fooled.

Saving Face
All the trouble in the movie comes about because of the need to save face. Grown men don’t want to say they are broke so they create tall tales of success abroad rather than simply say that they failed in whatever their endeavours were. The problem with creating tall tales is that everyone wants to eat the fruits of the so called labour which of course don’t exist. This means that these men have to create a way to get money to at least partially fool people with which can only be done by deception. There is a lesson to be learnt about the pressure that is placed on people from African countries that have gone abroad. Even if someone has been abroad it does not mean that they are laden with money. They could have been homeless abroad!

Funny Scene
When Uju starts dating Ofunwa who she thinks has just come from America an older woman in the village asks her to help her put her load of top of her head to which she replies,

“I’m sorry I don’t want to soil my hands. I don’t touch dirty things. I’m half way to America you know.”

Even her speech changes from the broken English that she normally uses, as though even the idea that you might be going to America makes you better that everyone else in the village and unable to carry out chores you previously would have carried out.

The Cast
Nkem Owoh
was brilliant. Charles Inojie with his awfully fake American accent (so true to life) excelled. Those two provided most of the laughs but everyone else was good too in providing entertainment.

The Soundtrack
The soundtrack was brilliant and so fitting. “America, Chicago, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico.” I couldn’t stop singing it. It is one of those songs that sticks in your head like in The Masters “I Go Chop Your dollar.”

I loved this movie! Seriously I laughed and laughed and laughed. I watched parts 1 and 2 and it will have a continuation so I will be on the lookout for that. I watched it with my parents and even a few weeks later my mother called me up saying “Costa Rica Costa Rica!” It was funn-ay. Ikenna Emma Aniekwe gets better and better. There was a very important message present amidst all the laughs. We see how “abroad” is not always better. What is so special about abroad? The guys were still broke still perambulating in the village the same way as they did before they went abroad, yet they were treated as mini gods simply because they said that they came from abroad. There is also a lesson to be learnt about treating people based on who they are and not where they have been or what they have, because they may not have been there and they may have nothing.

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Tell Us What You Think!



  1. Omgeee, just trailer alone, "even the Lagos wey I go, una don cancel that one" Too bloody much, I can't shout

    Definitely looking out for this one, just wished I knew a dealer in my area

  2. Men this film ''Gamblers'' is good. The continuation is ''Open fire'' & very interestine too.watchout for it.

  3. This movie was hilarious. Charles Inojie is just a mental case…he had me rolling. LoL

    So, the guy that was posing as the lawyer for the vigilante group is Ikenna Emma Aniekwe? Wow, he looks so young. I heard he is married and has a kid.

    I really respect Ikenna Aniekwe's work as a writer and director. Also, he did a good job playing the "fake" lawyer. As an actor he is not bad at all (unlike some other directors who shall not be mentioned, LoL).

    • gigichiny What? Say it aint so? I didn't know that was him and I'm always scanning movie credits. Good looking out!

      This film is so hilarious I just loved it… parlez vous and costa rica… classic.

      Ikenna Aniekwe has really improved over the past few years. Hmm yes I know who the unnamed one is. I fully agree.

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