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Friday, December 13, 2019

Action movie review: Just lather, that’s all

Action movie review: I get that style and glamour are important for a big-budget spy thriller. But, they are not the only pleasures of this genre.

Rating: 2 out of 5
Written by Manoj Kumar R | Bengaluru | Updated: November 15, 2019 4:05:04 pm
Action movie review Action movie review: Director Sundar C’s Action has nothing much going for it.

Action movie cast: Vishal, Tamannaah, Aishwarya Lekshmi, Kabir Duhan Singh, Yogi Babu
Action movie director: Sundar C
Action movie rating: 2 stars

Action opens with an action sequence. The scene is set in picturesque Istanbul. As the camera wades into a busy street of the city, we spot Tamannaah, who is trying to hide from someone. A television set in the market blares the news of a murder and shows the pictures of two suspects. You guessed it, right. The suspects are Tamannaah and Vishal. After brisk walking around the market for a couple of minutes, Tamannaah lands in the net of people who were hunting for her. She is taken to a secluded place in a desert, and she is repeatedly beaten. She is slightly bleeding from the lips, and yet her make-up looks perfect. Not a hair out of place. She looks like she got abducted right after stepping out of a spa salon. The humidity, dust and all that running seem to have hardly taken a toll on her appearance.

You may wonder, why I am sweating so much over Tamannaah’s make-up in the movie. For an extravagant action film such as this to work, suspension of disbelief is essential. And it is very difficult for the audience to do that when the characters on the screen don’t look the part. How am I supposed to believe a spy managed to get fast make-up touch-ups while she was on the run from the entire police force and mafia of Istanbul?

And then we have Vishal. The hero is styled for winter in sunny Istanbul. He is so particular about his fashion style that he doesn’t even lose his scarf while fighting the foreign criminals.

Director Sundar C’s Action has nothing much going for it. The film follows the events in the life of Subash (Vishal), a decorated soldier of the Indian army. He is the younger son of the incumbent Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu (played by Pala Karuppiah). His elder brother (played by Ramki) is the deputy chief minister. It is hard to believe the naivety of Subash’s family, given that they are politically so powerful. A bomb blast during an election rally in Chennai takes the life of a prime ministerial candidate, bringing disgrace to his family. As if that’s not enough, his brother and fiance Meera (Aishwarya Lekshmi) are also killed. Subash vows to avenge the death of his loved ones and wipe out the blot on his family. So, the action begins.

The writing is amateurish and lacks research on real-world experiences. Be it a crime lord in Istanbul or the most-wanted terrorist holed up in Pakistan, they all behave like typical Tamil villains. The bad guys lack originality, class and any purpose to be in the film other than eventually becoming a punching bag for the hero.

That said, there are a couple of interesting fancy action set pieces that play out on foreign locations. In particular, the fight and ensuing chase sequence towards the interval. But, that’s very little entertainment to sustain the audience for two hours and 38 minutes.

I get that style and glamour are important for a big-budget spy thriller. But, they are not the only pleasures of this genre. The thrill of the chase, the audacity of characters, and the tension over the mission verging on total collapse are what makes us invest in such films. And, yes, it is a bonus if we get the scenes of a smooth-talking hero ordering martinis “shaken, but not stirred.” The glamour must be like additional seasoning. And not the entire entree.

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