Ugo Okoye (Ramsey Noah) is an armed robber while his brother, Chinedu (Andrew Onochie), is a devout Christian. Chinedu is jailed for his brother’s crime, which devastates his fiancée, who has to make a choice between waiting for him and moving on with her life.
Tempting Fate shares a few similarities with a 1999 or 2000 film; whose title now escapes me. That film stars Liz Benson, Pat Attah and Ernest Obi and is the story of a couple who decide not to abort a foetus after the wife is raped by armed robbers. Unfortunately, the child grows up to become a hardened criminal who even attempts to take the life of his own brother.
It is inexplicable when siblings manifest such opposing values despite the fact that they were nurtured in the same home by the same parents. Could it be the friends they kept or some other influences?
The make-up whilst Chinedu lies critically ill on the bed is superb.
The medical and crime aspects of the film are half-hearted, more so for a diaspora film shot in the US. 24, House, Grey’s Anatomy and numerous films and TV Series, which hinge on crime and medicine make the viewer wonder why Tempting Fate’s handling of those subjects is half-hearted rather than thorough. Even the medical and crime scenes enacted as docu-dramas in the Crime and Investigation channel (CI) or on Investigation Discovery (ID) look more convincing than what is presented in this flick.
Tracy’s (Giffany Denise Turner’s) character is inconsistent; she just sits comfortably to drink with Ugo, someone she despises if her body language is anything to go by. No hints about her behaviour are dramatized for the audience to deduce what she is capable of or unlikely to do. Chinedu leaves jail before time; most likely because of his good conduct; introducing more tension to the degenerating situation.
Chinedu, a dedicated Christian, engages a woman without disclosing the life-threatening ailment which he is battling. Much as he has faith and believes he will be healed, a woman he intends to make a life partner deserves to have this vital information. Better still, why not go ahead with the marriage after recovery?
One Last Operation is one scenario that has been deployed in several films and the outcome is usually predictable. It was the case in The Darkest Night, an Emem Isong production directed by Ifeanyi Onyeabor; starring RMD, Kalu Ikeagwu, Gentle Jack, Segun Arinze, Genevieve Nnaji and Uche Jombo. In fact, it is the title of the first sequel to the late Amaka Igwe’s Rattlesnake.
Does it mean the detectives could not differentiate Chinedu from Ugo? They arrest Chinedu, who clearly is not the person they see, strolling into the apartment. Ugo walks into the same police station, the workplace of the detectives who have seen him twice and he is not arrested. How incredible!
So many film-makers worry about the way their films end rather than the process that leads to the end and Tempting Fate is guilty of this. The film is well concluded, but the process through which the director arrives the destination leaves many questions unanswered.
When films are made by Nigerians in diaspora, there are usually expectations that something close to Hollywood standard is in the offing, but this is far from the case in Kevin Nwankwor’s Tempting Fate. We did not think deeply whilst watching the film.