Movies being turned into a TV series has been trending in Hollywood. In South Africa, it’s not common practice yet.
So when Mzansi Magic announced that Donovan Marsh’s movie iNumber Number (known as Avenged) has been turned into a TV series, fans were elated.
What really sent their excitement into overdrive – aside from the cast that is – is the fact it was produced by Quizzical Pictures, who are renowned for delivering award-winning home-grown content.
The production house is behind Hopeville, Hard Copy, The Lab, MTV Shuga Down South, Swartwater, Intersexions (seasons one and two), Rhythm City and 4Play: Sex Tips for Girls.
The gritty urban drama opened on a tense scene – an orchestrated robbery by a notorious gang of criminals at a mall. In following a tip-off, Chilli (Sdumo Mtshali) and Shoes (Presley Chweneyagae) arrive at the scene, hoping to foil their plan.
Sadly, there are casualties in the crossfire: a gung-ho mall guard and the eldest son of influential crime boss, Mkoto (Mncedisi Shabangu).
Ronnie Nyakale reprises his role as Captain Stone. He is also on Mkoto’s payroll, which is something Chilli and Shoes are well aware of. As such, they conceal the fact it was Chilli that pulled the trigger that ended the life of Mkoto’s heir to the empire.
Meanwhile, a wheelchair-bound Skroef (Israel Makoe) is festering in anger over his helpless situation. His son does his best to take care of him but Skroef grows more incensed with his ex flaunting her new love in front of him.
The first episode was a bit rushed, which diluted the impact of several hard-hitting scenes.
However, the writers did well in introducing the characters and, in the second episode, which was better executed, exposed a shocking twist.
Now there is context for Chilli’s loathing of Mkoto and it goes beyond the fact he is his son.
It also explains Chilli’s recklessness in attempting to take down the crime boss – he cost two innocent people their lives. One of whom was someone he cared for.
Meanwhile, Shoes continues to err on the side of caution. Well, he certainly tries to. More so, with him being a family man, he doesn’t care much for taking unnecessary risks on the job.
There is a compelling realism to storytelling in iNumber Number, with the writers incorporating high speed car chases into the narrative, too.
The story lives in two worlds. One is seedy, ruthless and overrun by drug trafficking, murder, street justice and rape.The other operates in a more glamorous space.
Despite his dirty dealings, Mkoto and his family lead a very glamorous life.
His Achilles heel seems to be his youngest son with a troublesome drug habit – this is something Chilli exploits to his advantage.
iNumber Number offers a polarised look at morality. Loyalty seems to be a decider between life and death. And vengeance could be the undoing of many.
The stakes are high and deception is rife in this spin-off.
* iNumber Number airs on Mzansi Magic (DStv Channel 161) on Sundays at 8pm. The series will also be shown on ShowMax later this year.