Marvel’s Black Panther is being trumpeted as one of the best films of all time. The movie smashed records, blowing away Marvel’s own Deadpool for having the best President’s Day weekend debut. To many, the film was revolutionary for being a superhero movie with a majority-black cast and marked the beginning of a new, more inclusive era in cinema.
However, an even better action-packed movie set in Africa has been available for audiences to see for little under a decade now. This film, of course, would be the Ugandan film Who Killed Captain Alex.
The film follows the story of a group of soldiers trying to hunt down and destroy the elusive and all-powerful “Tiger Mafia.” In the midst of this search, Captain Alex, the group’s leader, is mysteriously killed. Chaos ensues, and the movie ends with the movie’s titular question still standing: Who killed Captain Alex?
Taken at face value, the movie is absolute nonsense. If it weren’t for the “video joker” (someone who talks over the movie, making jokes, explaining the plot, etc.) this movie would be nearly incomprehensible.
But I’ll be danged if it isn’t one of the best and funniest movies I’ve ever seen.
The context is really what makes Who Killed Captain Alex the great movie that it is. The film is the brainchild of Ugandan filmmaker Nabwana Isaac Godfrey Geoffrey (IGG), who has made over thirty films over the course of his life. He made the film with a budget of about $200 (in comparison, Birdemic: Shock and Terror, a movie that looks like this had a budget of $10,000) and a camera that he had to make and sell bricks in order to pay for. Additionally, as IGG states in the intro of Who Killed Captain Alex, he works on a computer so ancient that he had to delete Who Killed Captain Alex from his hard drive to make space for his next movie. On top of all of this, the movie was filmed in Wakaliga, one of the poorest, most dangerous areas in Kampala, Uganda’s capital.
Another thing I really like about Who Killed Captain Alex is that you can tell that everyone had a blast making this movie. You can tell Nabwana IGG had a lot of fun writing the script, with it featuring such iconic lines as “You think I’ll sit back and do nothing as you try to eat me like a juicy grasshopper?” and “Everybody in Uganda knows kung fu!” A few months back, I ordered some merchandise from the production studio’s website, including a mug, a t-shirt, and a DVD copy of the movie. Attached to the t-shirt was a note that read:
“Thank u so much for purchasing our t-shirt and 4 supporting Wakaliwood. We make the shirt ourselves and and maybe u will see the image is crooked or some paint drip on sleeve. We are not perfect but try very hard. Please enjoy knowing we made this shirt for you.”
That statement is the essence of why I love this movie so much. Unlike a lot of movies you see today that are made solely with monetary gain in mind, Who Killed Captain Alex was made not from a desire for profit but to make something that’s entertaining.
The movie also represents one of the major benefits of the internet: the ability to share culture over thousands of miles with the click of a single button. Without the internet, likely not a single person outside of IGG’s hometown would be able to have the pleasure of viewing his films.
If you haven’t already, I would highly recommend watching Who Killed Captain Alex. If you end up liking the movie, I would also highly recommend buying some of their merchandise available at their online store.