Originally shot in 2014, Nabwana I.G.G.’s Crazy World has belatedly been subtitled and released internationally on the back of increasing interest in the director’s film studio Wakaliwood. Based out of a poor area of the Ugandan capital Kampala, Wakaliwood and Nabwana have crafted no-budget exploitation films filled with martial arts, shootouts and satirical comedy. Crazy World embodies the mad genius of Nabwana’s scattershot, inventive methods.

It begins with newly recorded PSA videos of a “Piracy Patrol” arresting a local man for downloading a Rambo movie and a woman lamenting that her own piracy of Star Wars might have resulted in the karmic punishment of Luke Skywalker dying. An obvious play on the Alamo Drafthouse’s wry and star-filled anti-talking videos, the scene sets the stage for a movie in which all bets are off in terms of the fourth wall, and it’s a fitting lead-in for one of the oddest action movies you’ll ever see.

The core plot is simple: a slum mafia boss, Mr. Big (Mukiibi Alex), demands the roundup of children to be used in a ritual sacrifice to give him more power. That Mr. Big himself is a child whose fully grown henchman have to pick him up or get on their hands and knees for him to stand on makes light of the serious issues of child abductions in Uganda (reportedly, Nabwana made the film as a means of warding off the kidnapping of his own children). Gangsters then set about stealing children, including the daughter of Dauda Bisaso, whom the director/narrator (who enthusiastically chatters throughout), identifies as “Uganda’s best commando and father.” A gunfight ensues that leaves Dauda’s wife dead and him shot, setting up a revenge narrative for the soldier who subsequently goes mad from grief.

Yet this is a film that mostly regards the children who are stolen, who just so happen to be the Waka Stars, Wakaliwood’s resident kung-fu kids. What follows is a giddy collection of tropes that are thrown together with little regard for narrative flow. With Nabwana serving as both narrator and hype-man, character introductions sound like someone put a microphone near a rowdy audience member who shouts when he recognizes one of the director’s troupe of actors. The story constantly careens in and out of focus as the film gets sidetracked with minor characters or, even funnier, sudden and completely unprompted lurches into social commentary. “The rich say they’re protecting our future. So why are our children crying?” asks the despondent father of one abducted child, though the more fitting summary of the film’s political outlook comes from Nabwana merrily shouting, “This is life in Kampala. It’s not easy if you’re stupid!”

Befitting the director’s own enthusiastic voiceover, Nabwana assembles the film as a flurry of colliding parts. Gunshots rendered with simple muzzle flash effects and public domain foley sounds mix with cartoonish scribbles of emphasis redolent of the “wham pow” bubbles of the “Batman” TV show. All basic tenets of filmmaking are ignored; the 180-degree rule is shattered seemingly at least once per minute, and the most elaborate “stunts” have all the garish, immersion-shattering oddity of “Tim and Eric” bits. The handheld camera is constantly darting and weaving, but there are subtle flashes of cleverness to how Nabwana jiggles the camera in time with kicks and bullets as if to transfer their kinetic energy to the frame.

When Nabwana introduces the film as “the best kids movie ever,” there’s some truth to the boast. This is a movie built around the active, scattered energy of a child’s attention, its leaps of place, mood and logic all consistent with the eagerness of tracing every possible idea with no care for how it all fits together. The cutaways, references and callbacks (including another Piracy Patrol vignette that stacks so many punchlines on top of each other it’s hard to say where the joke peaks) are outlandish; guaranteed, no other movie ever made has or will feature a gangster holding a pistol to a child’s head while wearing a The Twilight Saga: New Moon T-shirt. Crazy World is a reminder that the tendency to talk about shoestring-budget films as overcoming their lack of resources often misses that many such movies celebrate how little they have to work with. Nothing in the movie feels like a workaround for special effects that Nabwana wishes he could access. Instead, each element, no matter how micro-budgeted or strange, is handled with the confidence of a man doing exactly what he wants with his art.

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