British actor-rapper Adam Deacon gained popularity in the noughties with urban drama films Kidulthood and Adulthood. In 2011, he wrote, directed and acted in Anuvahood, a parody of the popular movies he had previously starred in. He then received further media attention when he was awarded the BAFTA Rising Star Award in 2012. A challenging upbringing, coupled with a dizzying rise to fame and a substance addiction, triggered his mental health issues. This resulted in a difficult spell that kept him away from the limelight for some years.
Sumotherhood marks Deacon’s return to the industry as an actor and director. A humorous portrayal of East London’s street culture, the film continues the thread of the “hood” series. Although it’s a comedy, it embraces Deacon’s personal journey by tackling the themes that most affected him and, in doing so, seems to also be speaking to the youth who grow up in tough environments and may find themselves in sticky situations in spite of their best efforts to succeed in life.
The film follows the misadventures of Riko (Deacon) and his best friend Kane (Jazzie Zonzolo), who have big aspirations of becoming respected “roadmen” in their neighbourhood. Unluckily for them, they are hopelessly inept at everything they try their hands at, and they owe one Mr Patel £15,000. As they desperately try to raise this money, their circumstances become increasingly more complicated. Robberies and liaisons with the most unlikely accomplices turn sour – until an unexpected incident seems to turn their fates around and they get recruited by a notorious gang leader. Their clumsiness and a series of misunderstandings, however, see them headed for disaster once again.
While the two protagonists are very much the focus of the story, cameos are central to this film and add an extra buzz as audiences can find themselves playing spot-the-celebrity at every turn. Albeit brief, the appearance of Ed Sheeran is likely to draw in many fans, while that of Jeremy Corbyn is very significant in that it conspicuously points out the social problems behind the comedy, thus elevating the film’s message.
At times the tone is over the top, with characters shouting their way through scenes, and there are moments when silliness takes over and the humour becomes childish. Nevertheless, the movie is overall entertaining, has box-office quality and is refreshing in that it speaks of (and to) the urban scene with a mocking voice that is highly empathetic at heart.
Sumotherhood is released nationwide on 13th October 2023.
Watch the trailer for Sumotherhood here: