Having to wait ten years before seeing Jimmy Cliff on film again after The Harder They Come was bad enough; having to watch him witlessly lionised is rubbing salt into the wounds. As if director Paul had got his artistic needle stuck, Bongo Man is little more than a repeat of his Reggae Sunsplash formula: sliced up concert footage and interviews over which a narrator/commentator intones lines like 'politicans divide, musicians unite'. Not that it doesn't have its moments, as Cliff is followed through a series of concerts, walkabouts and rasta raps set against the politically volatile atmosphere of 1980s Jamaican elections; most of them spring from the thirteen or so resonant reggae anthems and the odd bit of wit in the face of 'babilan'. But overall it's a sprawling muddy mess of a movie.
Cast and crew
Jimmy Cliff and the Oneness Band
Bob Marley and the Wailers