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Rapulana Seiphemo in 'Santana.'
Rapulana Seiphemo in 'Santana.'
Photo: Gravel Road Distribution Group






3/5 Stars


Two brothers - one a narcotics agent and the other a general - finally discover the identity of the drug lord who murdered their parents decades ago.


When it comes to the action movie genre, it's difficult to reinvent the wheel. Almost everything has been done before.

Santana's strength lies in its fast-paced, immersive storytelling with go-pro footage, providing close-up shots of action scenes. It puts the viewer right there in the centre of it all.

The storyline revolves around two brothers, Matias (Raul Rosario) and Dias (Paulo Americano). Thirty-five years ago, when Matias was six years old and Dias was still in his mother's womb, their parents were murdered. A wealthy family adopted Matias but Dias was not so lucky. He became part of the foster system. With their relationship hanging on a thread, the brothers, who are both in law enforcement, seek out Ferreira (Rapulana Seiphemo) - the man who killed their parents.

While the storyline is pretty generic, there are plot twists and a double-cross. I have to be honest, there is a supernatural element that I didn't feel was necessary. It came out of nowhere and, for me, i felt like it was added to bring some spice.

When it comes to the action scenes, there are enough shootouts, chase scenes and fistfights to satisfy the action quota.

The central emotional arch is the relationship between the brothers, which creates dramatic tension in the film. You're rooting for them to work through their issues and to work together. I do wish though, that there was some more backstory as to why Ferreira killed their parents, I felt that we just got dropped into the middle of it.

The Angolan and South African actors making up the ensemble cast have great chemistry. With the movie being filmed in both countries, there is a fresh, authentic feel which aids the storytelling. The supporting cast brought some very needed lighter, comedic moments.

As the leads, Raul Rosario and Paulo Americano carry the movie well, they deliver captivating performances. The show-stealer though was Rapulana Seiphemo. His unhinged, somewhat deranged drug lord was the perfect villain.

If you're looking for standard action fare, Santana fits the bill. There's enough action and drama to keep you entertained. It's also a great showcase of South African and Angolan talent which I hope, paves the way for more collaborations. 


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