Friday, 8 February 2013

Nothing Special about Special 26

Nothing Special about Special 26
Must be amongst the most predictable ‘unpredictable’ film ever. If you’ve seen the promos, well you know most of it. Neither does Special 26 have the grandeur of other heist series like Dhoom or Race, nor does it have the sexiness quotient of a very similar 2002 film ‘Aankhen’ or even the ‘hits-you-like-a-bullet’ unexpected twist of ‘A Wednesday’.  

Yes Special 26 does climaxes into an ‘unexpected twist’ towards the end. However, it’s kind of too tame and another of those expected ‘unexpectations’ to shake you from your slumber. On the whole, it’s a neat flick that keeps you engaged with a very competent cast (Anupam Kher and Manoj Bajpayee are superb!) , interesting premise, period settings of the 80s-era, a high-octave background score (again very reminiscent of the 80s with trumpets and all) and one absolute fab chase sequence!

However, there are far too many dampeners to dilute the kick of this ‘could have been supercool’ heist fiesta. To begin with is the dull, tepid and extremely lacklustre romantic track that sticks out like a sore thumb. An absolute unnecessary distraction that does nothing more than killing the nicely built-up momentum on many key occasions. Couple that with a ‘dumb as dumbbell’ female lead like Kajal Agarwal (of Singham fame) and what you have is the dreariest romantic track in recent times. Akshay Kumar too looks the most uninterested and uninspired in this part of the movie and it shows. Zero chemistry out here!

But then, you were never promised a heart-tugging love story in Special 26. So then why to complain? The issue is ‘Yes Exactly!’ Special 26 was meant to be a thrill-a-minute chor-police adventure to keep you on your edge-of-the-seat throughout. What then was the burning necessity to bog it down with an uninspired romantic angle? Why can’t even the most sorted of film makers like Neeraj Pandey keep it single-track and avoid the whims of the box-office. Another Akki-starrer ‘Oh My God’ avoided any romantic distraction in recent times, and was a huge success at that!

A romantic angle increases the box-office prospects of a movie, increases the face-value in the posters and gives it a more broader audience base, right? In this case, absolutely wrong! A romantic track over here, which is further dragged by a rank bad actress, does exactly the opposite. Time and again, it crops up needlessly with those soft and boring so-called silent-love scenes and punctures the pace.

Another complaint is the thinking-man’s Akshay Kumar. Yes, it’s good to go on a ‘acting’ mode once in a while, establish your credentials as a fine actor and wash away the sins of brain-drainers you are normally associated with. However, it makes little sense when you go completely against the grain and don’t even attempt to cash-in on the strengths of your persona. At time it suffocating to watch an otherwise energetic Akki without a single chase (which could’ve been there) or an action scene (which definitely could’ve been there) to top-up the entertainment quotient of the movie. So in a nutshell, the movie depicts its biggest commercial trump-card, Akki in certain things which he should definitely not be doing (like puppy romance) rather than certain things which he should definitely be doing (action).  The songs (despite there being just a couple of them) test your patience and further slows down this already slowing thrill express.

To sum it up, a major part of Special 26 is spent on building it up nicely for the final heist. But somehow, all of it doesn’t quite add-up in the final reels. It definitely ends well and smart, but not with the ‘Oh God Damn!’ kind of feeling that gripped you post ‘A Wednesday’.  It’s more like a Manoj Night Shyamlan trying too hard to bring in that sixth sense-kinda unbelievable twist in all his subsequent films.  But still, always falling too short to match-up to the sheer ‘Oh My God-ness’ of the first time he did that in Sixth Sense.

In the end, Special 26 is a decently thrilling and entertaining film. But at the same time, it’s a mixed-bag of many missed opportunities of what it could have been. Definitely a bit more tighter, a bit more unpredictable. If the makers can still edit-out those Unspecial 26 minutes of icy-cold romance, it still might become a more saucy and special flick!

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