New Delhi: The massive combined success of the two Republic Day offerings, Raees and Kaabil and the anticipated release of Akshay Kumar-starrer Jolly LLB 2 next Friday have together made it a relatively dull week at the movies.
Director Zaigham Imam’s Hindi movie Alif starring Neelima Azeem, Danish Hussain, Pawan Tiwari and Bhavna Pani has many good points, says The Times Of India, along with a strong story, which shows how an orthodox approach to education can ruin lives. However, execution and performances fail this film from rising above being anything more than a film with a ‘message’. The actors are shrill and over-the-top in their performances barring Hussain, who plays it so understated that his emotions barely come through. Azeem is the only saving grace, as she brings a certain warmth and humanity to this bleak landscape. Read more
Chinese- Indian co-production Kung Fu Yoga starring Jackie Chan, Sonu Sood and Disha Patani directed by Stanley Tong combines kinetic stunts with exotic locations on a very grand scale, says Variety magazine. It would have been even more fun to see Chinese martial arts infused with yoga poses, or fights between Chan and yoga masters, but Tong’s screenplay is too heavily skewed toward mainland Chinese tastes to explore such ideas, marking a missed opportunity for an original mashup of Bollywood and Chinese entertainment styles. As the leading man, Chan keeps the ball rolling with an assortment of neat acrobatic tricks and martial arts sparring, but his days of life-risking physical exertion are over. The three gorgeous Indian actors, none of them big names, give feisty turns in skimpily written roles. Read more
For Jackie Chan fans, this one will be disappointing, says Mumbai Mirror. Not that the karate kid has now become a Kung Fu grandpa but the fact that the legendary actor is reduced to films such as this one. While most of Chan’s movies are synonymous with obnoxiously conceptualized sequences, this one lacks that novelty of showing audiences something they’ve never imagined possible. Meanwhile, the Indian names on the list- Sonu Sood, Disha Patani and Amyra Dastur, cumulatively fail to make one actor. Read more
For the Hollywood fans, epic historical fiction action-adventure The Great Wall directed by Zhang Yimou starring Matt Damon, Jing Tian and Pedro Pascal comes to India this week. The Guardian calls it a monster movie with a muddled message that delivers on spectacle but not soul. Every predictable turn comes to pass, and most major developments loom so large it’s a wonder the elite fighters don’t spot them. Aside from the nods to Chinese culture, there is little to differentiate between this and any other Hollywood action adventure. Read more
Telling the fantastical story of a massive battle waged to stop paranormal beasts from invading China, The Great Wall is easily the least interesting and involving blockbuster of the respective careers of both its director and star, says The Hollywood Reporter. Beyond the casting and the ceaseless onslaught of diverse special effects, Zhang and his Hollywood screenwriters have delivered nothing more than a formulaic monster movie which may be a landmark film for the Chinese and US film industries, but it’s hardly a creative breakthrough for anyone involved. Read more
Science fiction action horror flick Resident Evil: The Final Chapter directed by Paul W. S. Anderson starring Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Shawn Roberts and Ruby Rose is a weak retread of Resident Evil’s greatest hits, says A.V Club. Combining Anderson’s symmetrical camera style with frenetic editing ends up imploding the sense of depth and space that has long made the director’s movies must-sees in 3-D. The breathless pace even suffocates a couple of third-act plot twists, robbing one of its potential poignance and the other of its subversive political subtext. Read more
Final Chapter meets the standard for mindless thrills set by the previous Resident Evil films, ending the series on more of a shrug than a bang, says Screen Rant. The film’s excessively ramped-up editing robs its set pieces of their tension and renders many of its close-quarter fight scenes, as well as the stunt work by Jovovich, semi-incomprehensible. The result is a Resident Evil movie that falls short of being either an exceptional roller coaster ride or unnerving thriller, but admittedly does not drag in terms of pacing. Read more
In the south, Tamil action film Bogan directed by Lakshman starring Jayam Ravi, Arvind Swamy and Hansika Motwani is average fare that belongs wholeheartedly to Swamy. Some good scenes and dialogues show Ravi in top form too but somehow the edge belongs to Swamy, whose swagger and ease at mouthing those loud lines come off as an applause-worthy surprise. The thrills in this fantasy-tale arrive post interval, which races into a chase-to-finish. Logic of course takes a backseat and despite that if your attention is still on the screen, it is because of how Swamy looks and acts. Read more
Tamil comedy Enakku Vaaitha Adimaigal directed by Mahendran Rajamani starring Jai and Pranitha is light-hearted and breezy in its treatment. The look of the film, however, seems to overpower its content, says The New Indian Express. The dialogue is laced with sparkling one-liners which manages to keep the narration lively. The actors are adequate in their roles but the film could have done with a stronger punch. Read more
Several releases this week haven’t inspired any reviews yet. These include Telugu romantic actioner Nenu Local, Kannada action film Chowka, Malayalam movie Fukri, Marathi drama Baghtos Kay Mujra Kar, Bengali romantic film Tomake Chai and Gujarati films Superstar and Gujju Rocks.