Friday, 25 January 2013

Race 2 Disappointment: A Revenge Video Game Served Cold!

Race 2 Disappointment: A Revenge Video Game Served Cold!

At its best (or worst), Race 2 is an over-stretched video game.  In one of the crucial moments in the movie, Saif quips in “Revenge is a dish, best served cold!” Same goes for Race 2 – it’s an over-cooked revenge dish that has all the meat, but is ultimately served cold.
Yes it certainly gets a tick against all the required check-boxes –

·         Adrenaline-pumping stunts. Check.

·         Gorgeous bodies on display. Check.

·         Unlimited bevy of beauties. Check.

·         Super cool machines getting blown away to bits. Check.

·         Mansions, palaces, yachts, stunning locales and all the lifestyle gadgets to keep the audience in awe. Check.

·         More twists than the dialogues allotted to Amisha Patel. Check.

·         Dhik-chick music that keeps it blaring and keeps up the tempo. Check.  

So you see, it’s got it all! But as indicated earlier, it somehow ends up being an over-stuffed, over-stretched, over-the-top and over-cooked video game that remains at that. A soul-less video game. It starts very well. The characters are established straightaway with great flash and without too much mumbo-jumbo about their existence. The protagonist, Saif looks a million bucks, makes a drool-entry and right away gets into the game. He sets it up beautifully, and yes, it promises to be a lip-smacking affair!

But that’s about it. It fails to move beyond that. Throughout the movie, the characters keep announcing it pretty grandiosely “It promises to be a Race to the finish. Let the action begin mate. Let’s unleash the power…”, and all those similar-sounding cool statements….you get the drift. However, sadly the movie doesn’t manage to build-up that much anticipated crescendo to the finish. To give due-credit, there is enough action and pace happening to keep you hooked right throughout. A heist involving the ‘Shroud of Turin’, a fight to death, a flying funeral and other sporty set-pieces to sustain the momentum. However, beyond a point, they serve merely as different levels of a video game that don’t mean much in terms of a rock-solid story.  Beyond a point, you just don’t care who did what and how and why?

It’s here that the movie strays from its significantly much-better predecessor, the original ‘Race’. The first instalment of this franchise had a finger licking plot of betrayal, jealousy and one-upmanship at the bedrock of all the flashy action pieces. It too had a twist-a-minute plot, but what kept it going was a very interesting plot premise. To top it, all of that was wonderfully brought together in a soul-stirring, long-lasting music. The numbers still linger on – Pehli nazar mein aisa jadoo, Zara zara touch me, Rock the dance floor, Khwab dekhe jhoothe moothe…

It’s here that Race 2 falls far short of its much celebrated prequel and a much unexpected sleeper-hit of 2008. The music of Race 2 is too lame, too tepid (despite all the template-beats  and mixing & mashing). The so-called ‘bevy of beauties’ in Race 2 are quintessential ‘blondes’ or ‘bimbettes’ in the truest sense. The troika of Deepika, Jacqueline and Amisha are too-much of cardboard cut-outs than flesh and blood heroines. Sadly, despite all the generous skin-show, the charmless female quotient of Race 2 lets it down big time! Can’t help going back to the original, in which both Katrina and Bipasha belonged to different league altogether. Yes , they had all the chutzpah, but at the same time, they were strongly-etched, and strongly portrayed  characters integral to the story.

To sum it up, Race 2 makes you sad on many accounts -

·         Sad that it took us 15 movies and half-a-dozen blockbusters to realize that both John Abraham and Deepika Padukone are all body but terrible actors. In a meaty antagonist role, John makes us realize yet again, that how tame an actor he is…and there is actually nothing more to him than those washboard abs and beefy biceps.

·         Sad that despite being much in vogue, Deepika is a hopeless actor and her terrible dialogue delivery has an innate ability to kill a good scene. Picture this, in a crucial scene, Deepika conveys this pretty calmly, flatly and mechanically – “Ranveer gaadi ke neeche speed bomb hai, hum ruka nahi sakte aur speed bhi kam nahi kar sakte.” I bet, you’ll enjoy this comic scene! In another one, before a party song, she announces, pretty vernacularly “Gaiees, it iz time to cut looze.” Guess, here’s someone who needs some English lessons from Kangana Ranaut.

·        Sad, the director-duo have decided to do away with their staple Johnny Lever in this movie. However, much sadder, that they’ve replaced him with Anil Kapoor! It’s downright cringe-worthy to see an actor of such calibre, playing an inconsequential role and indulging in crude, double-meaning sex jokes that are passé and juvenile enough to be avoided by C-grade movie makers as well.

·         Sad, that Amisha Patel, who is still an eye candy and a still a better actor than Deepika or Jacqueline, is reduced to playing a demented, sex starved secretary. A sixth-fiddle role that screams out just one thing – Amisha’s desperation to get back in movies!

If you look at it, Race 2 is not much different from Abbas-Mustan’s disastrous ‘Players’ released last year. One can copy-paste and switch a scene from one movie to another, and no one would realize! The only redeeming grace of this muddled enterprise is Saif Ali Khan. He looks smashing and binds together the entire convoluted plot with élan! As he himself proclaims, “Main is Race ka sabse puraana khilaadi hoon, aur main haar nahi sakta!” Very true, if you have to watch this Race, watch it for Mr. Khan – who is at the peak of his game!

Sadly, as in any race, there is just winner. Saif clinches the race by miles, lock, stock and barrel. He trumps! But unfortunately, movies are meant to be relay races, and our hero (as referred throughout in the movie is as well) is badly let down by rest of his teammates.

Race engrosses, occasionally entertains, will make a good amount of moolah and will eventually be a ‘Saif’ bet at the Box Office. But on the whole, it’s a much disappointing and tame affair compared to its much sleeker, much unpredictable and  much superior prequel.

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