Tamil action film Kaakha Kaakha was the precursor to Force (2011), but Force 2 is altogether original. In an effort to extend the brand and build it into a franchise, a shallow story has been laced together between ambitious action set pieces. Every moment of director Abhinay Deo’s movie is underlined by an over-enthusiastic background score. Against this percussive, string-heavy pulsating music, you have two smouldering, scowling, but reluctant partners united to track down a spy in the Indian Embassy.
Soon after multiple RAW agents are found assassinated in China, Mumbai ACP Yashvardhan Singh (John Abraham) receives a coded message from an old friend. Convinced that there is a breach in the system, he is teamed up with RAW representative K.K. (Sonakshi Sinha) to find the turncoat. Their search takes them to Budapest, where they quickly identify Shiv (Tahir Raj Bhasin) as the culprit. Yash doesn’t suffer fools. This absence of emotion, he reminds us, is the direct result of the brutal death of his wife (Genelia D’Douza in a cameo) some years ago.
Following the tropes of revenge sagas, here is a man seeking vengeance, but Bhasin’s Shiv is always a step ahead of the authorities and outwitting Yash and K.K. His methods are often smart and sneaky, but sometimes they’re so obvious that you question the competence of these two investigators who are unable to figure out Shiv’s modus operandi.
Deo has Bhasin and Abraham running across rooftops in Budapest in a lengthy chase, much like Bond in Spectre (there are several familiar antics seen in Bond, Bourne and other spy thrillers). There’s a car and bike chase, and a silly assassination attempt, which allows Abraham and Sinha to engage in a clumsy gun battle. And while the production design is generous, its impact is limited, in no small measure due to a forced plot, unimaginative performances and an emotionally scant narrative. The editing and cinematography lend themselves to the genre, with a few scenes that cheekily objectify Abraham’s pumped up body. Abraham is unashamedly the He-man who lifts cars, smashes walls and happily shows off his physique.
Bhasin replicates his baddie role from his debut film, Mardaani, without much alteration. He was impressive then, but some variation would have been welcome now. Sinha attempts to match Abraham in the impassive department, but fortunately K.K. is allowed a more human character. At the same time, Bollywood-ization sets in and we have a RAW agent who has painted lips and false eyelashes in place even while on a dangerous mission. That might have been okay too if there was some payback for her presence. The tropes of the two-cop format are, unfortunately, left under-developed. Frankly, one cop would have done as good (or adequate) a job as two.
Force 2 releases in theatres on Friday.