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You Seriously Need to Watch 'Crazy World': Wakaliwood Uganda’s Action Triumph

Crazy World gives fans of Wakaliwood movies what they want by playing up the comedy and action just like their movies before.

Crazy World (2019)

5 / 5
4.5 / 5

With the current state of the world being as rough as it is, we all sometimes need lighthearted fun to remind ourselves that there’s still greatness in the world.  Wakaliwood — a Ugandan production studio consisting entirely of native citizens — provides such fare and a great laugh. It came as a major, delightful surprise to me that the newest Wakaliwood film, Crazy World, was selected to be a part of YouTube’s We Are One digital film festival after it initially debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival. I’ve been craving some cheeky fun by the dedicated artists from Kampala, Uganda, and Crazy World did not disappoint in the slightest. This also helps us remember that their are real people in Uganda suffering from a regime hell bent on harming LGBTQIA+ people at the expense of actually helping their citizens.

For anyone who’s watched anything from Wakaliwood, you know what you’re getting yourself into when turning on Crazy World, but for the uninitiated, you’re about to have your eyes opened to a whole new world of filmmaking.

When it comes to film budgets, you have your big-budget films like The Avengers (appx. $220 mil), mid-budget films like Knives Out (appx. $40 mil), and low-budget films like One Cut of the Dead (appx. $25,000), but rarely do any of us watch micro-budget movies. Wakaliwood presents possibly the lowest budgets any feature films have seen, with their breakout film, Who Killed Captain Alex? made on a mere $200 budget. When you hear famous directors and other people say that there’s no excuse for you to not make films if you have the passion for it, Wakaliwood is the prime example of that philosophy. Like Who Killed Captain Alex?, Crazy World retains that charming D.I.Y filmmaking style by having the filmmakers utilizing whatever assets they had on hand to craft their art, and that dedication to making the best possible movie they could make with such little resources is what drives the main appeal for these movies. Seeing the creativity that spawns from people who have next to nothing to make a movie shows how much they care about crafting entertainment that represents their culture.

Budgetary discussions aside, Crazy World gives fans of Wakaliwood movies what they want by playing up the comedy and action just like their movies before. An amazing running theme among Wakaliwood movies is the sheer amount of on-screen talent their movies boast. Dedicated performances come from each of their actors, who sink into their roles better than many American films. The entirely Ugandan cast boasts solid line delivery, staging, and emotional weight that’s beyond admirable, but one thing truly shines above the rest, and that’s the action. I kid you not when I say the dedication put into the action scenes rivals and even beats out many American action films in sheer entertainment value and care for the craft. Watching self-taught actors swing their fists, perform jumping kicks, and perform other insane stunts is truly a marvel to witness! Although the violence is always on the cornier side of entertainment, unlike the brooding seriousness of a John Wick, a lot of the action within Crazy World connects and had me wonder how these actors were able to pull some of this stuff off; as an example, there are a few moments where bricks come into the action and are either thrown or smashed against people. I have no idea if the bricks featured in the movie are real, but it was convincing enough to make me feel the brutal impact of hard objects smashing against people’s heads.

Mixing with realistic hand-to-hand action is a smorgasbord of hilarious digital effects that are so charming to witness. Seeing green-screened actors jump around in a city, hanging on to a looping gif of a helicopter with “Uganda Air Force” slapped onto the side of the helicopter provides roaring moments of hilarity, and there’s a ton more than that to witness, too! Even if the visual effects are just transparent gifs ripped from the internet, watching them so passionately presented on screen is a total joy to watch; these guys made the best product they could with the resources they were given, and it pays off immensely! If you’re a little curious as to how films such as Crazy World are made, the We Are One festival release has a prologue given by the film’s director: Nabwana I.G.G., where he goes into detail about the filmmaking processes to his movies, from how he works with greenscreen effects, to training actors in martial arts, to even talking about how the places they make their movies get destroyed by their country’s weather, yet they persist on delivering the world top-notch entertainment.

Now, with all of the commentary about visual effects, making movies from scratch, and so forth, there’s one key element to these Wakaliwood movies that makes a triumphant return, and that’s the “video joker.” During Crazy World and other Wakaliwood movies, a commentary track runs over the movie by an English-speaking resident who blathers on about all sorts of nonsense for comedic effect. I understand that just describing a “video joker” may turn some people off from the idea and think something like that would severely hurt the movie’s overall quality, but I assure you that it enhances the experience tenfold. Like Who Killed Captain Alex?, Crazy World has a story that would normally be considered rather serious, with Crazy World being about a criminal organization that kidnaps children for voodoo sacrifices (I’m not joking), but the overall entertainment value is ramped up with a belligerent onslaught of admittedly hilarious jokes lampooning the whole movie. Seemingly serious scenes featuring characters stealthily lurking about a gang hideout are accompanied by a crazed man talking about butts and making dumb references to other movies, and it’s hilarious! These jokes from the “video joker” (known as V.J. Emmie) never get old and are a consistent source of laughs even in the more serious moments. I’ll admit that having someone mockingly commentating over the whole film defeats the purpose of the seemingly intended drama, but Wakaliwood movies aren’t made to be serious, just a wild, fun ride for the audience.

Helicopter rotor
That is an objective fact.

In a post Who Killed Captain Alex? world, Crazy World has huge shoes to fill if it’s to reach the incredible highs that movie presented, and for the most part, Crazy World succeeds: the action is still fantastic, visual effects still entertaining, performances solid, and the “video joker” is still hilarious, but there’s one key issue that doesn’t make it better than Who Killed Captain Alex? and that’s the pacing. Crazy World starts strong with lots of action and jokes, but soon falls into a bit of a lull with the story, not advancing the plot in any meaningful way. Thankfully, Crazy World is only an hour-long, so the pacing issues don’t last for too long, and we’re soon back to all the zany action.

Towards the mid-point of the film, the entire movie stops to have this out of place segment about movie piracy, featuring a commando tracking down illegal downloads of his movie, and sending out the “Piracy Hunter” to track down culprits. I’d normally moan about how this extended cutaway gag doesn’t service the plot whatsoever (it honestly doesn’t), but it all just adds to the charm of the whole movie. On top of having the plot come to a screeching halt for what’s honestly an extended PSA for not pirating movies, there are even advertisements for other Wakaliwood movies shoved into the middle of the film! All of these mind-boggling moments that break away from the film you’re expecting to watch sound annoying on the surface, however, it just enhances the enjoyment factor, and hey, it may get you interested in other movies from the studio; they could use all the support they can get.

Tiger mafia uganda
Piracy Hunter is coming for you if you steal Wakaliwood movies.

If you’re in the market for a hilarious distraction to get your mind off of the current, horrific state of affairs our world is in the middle of, then Crazy World will certainly help. If you’re craving for more Wakaliwood goodness, Who Killed Captain Alex? is also available to watch officially for free on Youtube; if even that’s not enough for you, please check out Wakaliwood’s website and maybe buy some of their movies! Please support these talented artists so they can provide more whacky entertainment for years to come!

– Ethan Parker