Movie Review: Race 2 by Kamran Jawaid

This post is the unedited copy of the review published at Dawn.com on 30th January 2013. Published link is at the end of the post.

Entertainment Page Blurb:

A veritable franchise of mean, money games built on a threadbare revenge plot, ‘Race 2’ talks big and then cons out of implied grandness, just in the nick of time.

Race2-BlogHeader

Movie Review: Race 2

By Mohammad Kamran Jawaid

Retribution is bitter-sweet when one’s hoodwinking (make-believe) Billions.

In the less pretzel-y sequel to 2008’s Race, Saif Ali Khan returns as Ranveer, a sharp-witted protagonist-cum-antagonist whose ambitions are stuck-for-good in the money-con game – and as formula prescribes, he’s got murder in his mind (so, what else is new?).

Race 2 (7)

After opening with the worst car-explosion vfx in sequel-history, Ranveer, off-the-radar since Race, appears at a Casino run by Vikram Thapar (Rajesh Khattar), a millionaire whose motivations for money-doubling are as philistine as his common sense.

Vikram’s con, in a long-line of unoriginal rip-offs in Race 2’s, is one of the small fishes; there’s bigger game in the sea. As a song from the movie goes “Allah Duhai Hai”!

Race 2, shot everywhere except India (as its predecessor), is a lot like every other sequel: it suffers from ‘sequelitis’ – an epidemic that infects the genome of box-office breaking movies with spin-off potential. The virus is global and unbiased in its toxicity: it shares equal affection regardless of geographies, film industries or originality in plot-pitching.

Ranveer, like any other heroic lead-cum-villain of a semi-heist movie, has a deceptive itinerary of money laundering, money nabbing and general hoodwinking pre-plotted. His schema compromises: Amaan (John Abraham, leaner, as effective as possible with the material), a street-fighter turned big-fish, his half-sultry sister (Deepika Padukone), his newly acquired girl-friend (Jacqueline Fernandez), the returning lynchpin with a fruit fetish (Anil Kapoor) and his new half-aroused dumb-blonde (Ameesha Patel).

There’s also a lot of deal breaking and half-interested late night booty-calls that trail away to ritzy dance numbers (sheeshhh…).

Double-take cons – and U-turns – go off without intrigue or punch (there’s a vengeance-driven backstory, that one outguesses an hour before it happens on-screen). Consequences and upshots are relegated to second class citizenship, outmoded by infrequent growls, car chases, fisticuffs and skimpy bikini beach-parties (as another song goes: everyone has a “Party on their Mind”). And of course, shelling out millions – and then, unsurprisingly, billions – is as stress-free as delivering dialogues (and in a way, that’s what they are: dialogues).

Credibility, as signs point out, was on sick-leave the days Race 2’s was written, leaving emotional gravity at the mercy of its actors (and we know how that pans out). Still, even with Mr. Ali Khan bringing his sincerest asceticism to his scenes, a hefty bulk of Race 2 turns out as phony as his million Euro fibs.

Race 2 (4)

Perhaps that is the problem with big, bloated, blockbusters (and mind you, the movie does have “blockbuster” stamped all over): people talk big money and payback as if they have a free-license sanctioned from God Almighty.

Race 2 may sound like an imbecilic drag, built on pomp, glitzy showmanship and middling narrative pizzazz by directors Abbas-Mastan, its flow, however, isn’t intolerable (the “duo” radically recover from last year’s Players.

In fact, ‘2’ is a pricier “mix” of part 1 (which was a lift-off of Goodbye Lover by the way) – and if that is the benchmark, then Race 2 in an unabashed winner, in a one-person grand prix.

Win/Lose/Settle?! Is there really a difference…?

Directed by Abbas-Mastan; Written by Shiraz Ahmad; Music by Pritam and Atif Aslam; Background Score by Salim-Sulaiman; Cinematography by Ravi Yadav; Editing by Hussain Burmawala and Produced by Ramesh S. Taurani, Ronnie Screwvala and Siddharth Roy Kapur.

Race 2 (5)

With: Saif Ali Khan (Ranveer Singh), Deepika Padukone (Elena), John Abraham (Armaan Malik), Jacqueline Fernandez (Omisha/Tanya Martin), Anil Kapoor (Robert D’Costa, aka. RD), Ameesha Patel (Cherry), Rajesh Khattar (Vikram Thapar) and Bipasha Basu (Sonia).

Released by UTV, Tips and Geo Films; Race 2 is rated U/A.

The songs are kinda spiffy (‘Lat Lag Gayee’ with the aforementioned two). The action – especially a free-running Parkour dash in Cyprus – is half-engaging. The romance and retribution bit…well, I’ve seen better. ‘Race 3’, should be out sooner than you think.

The published version is at: http://dawn.com/2013/01/29/movie-review-race-2/

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1 thought on “Movie Review: Race 2 by Kamran Jawaid”

  1. “Movie Review: Race 2 by Kamran Jawaid Kamran Jawaid :: Spontaneous and Combustible” really got myself simply addicted on your website!

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