After directing music videos for a range of artists over the past several years, Mike Ho has turned his attention to film with the release of Imani. The film is the first feature-length project for Ho and will be streaming on BET +. Amaleka McCall and Tu-Shonda Whitaker pen the film’s screenplay, which in the simplest of terms, utilizes elements from the 1996 actioner, The Long Kiss Goodnight.
Military veteran Faith (Brittany S. Hall) has it all as a mother and wife. She is living her most fulfilling life as a mother and business owner, but things start to unravel a year after what she believes was a car accident. Through a series of events, Faith discovers that she is an Army special operations lieutenant, code name Imani with classified information.
Her husband Bryce (Demetrius Shipp Jr) watches her closely, and we know he is not who he appears to be. As the film progresses, we learn that Bryce is a government agent who was sent to infiltrate Faith’s life. He is manipulating her to get information from her. His true identity is revealed, and we realize that everything he has done has been to further his mission.
One of the things I liked about the film was that we had an unknown actress in the lead role, which allowed me to identify with the character. Mrs. Hall is straightforward on the eyes and handles her action sequences nicely. Demetrius Shipp Jr does a decent job as well in another antagonistic role. The rest of the supporting cast consists of familiar faces. Kris D. Lofton from Power Book IV: Force plays an old friend from Imani’s past, while the always enjoyable Stephen Bishops hams up the scenery as Senator Grant.
Imani is a solid throwback to the 70s action B-movies I used to watch Friday night on Cinemax. Considering the budget, there is some awe-inspiring action. I never found the acting stilted, even though the storyline could be more revolutionary. However, action junkies will appreciate bloody shoot-outs and hard-hitting fight scenes in which extra-loud sound effects accompany every hit or kick.
Final Grade: B
Imani is streaming now on BET+.
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