A still from ‘Baaghi 2’.
A still from ‘Baaghi 2’.

‘Baaghi 2’: the big-ticket Bollywood offering this week

For Hollywood fans, American film 'Ready Player One', directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke and Ben Mendelsohn, comes to India this week

New Delhi: Summer finally seems to have gotten underway with Bollywood upping its game with big-ticket releases.

Baaghi 2, starring Tiger Shroff and Disha Patani and directed by Ahmed Khan, follows the story of “one-man army" Ronnie, who is a tough army officer fighting the evils of society, says Firstpost. What makes this run-of-the-mill plot seem interesting is the stoicism with which Shroff approaches his role. Needless to say, the film does better in its taut action sequences. It is more than apparent that Khan doesn’t believe in wasting his audience’s time (he has, after all, been a director, choreographer and an actor). With stellar actors like Manoj Bajpayee, Randeep Hooda and Prateik Babbar sharing screen space with Shroff, and a buzz-worthy pairing with Patani, Khan seems to be aware of the positioning of the film.

Baaghi 2 desperately hopes that slow-motion shots of the hero’s abs and his stunts, set against blaring background scores, can uplift a dull narrative, says masala.com. Unfortunately, the audience today is far more discerning. Producer Sajid Nadiadwala doesn’t waste any time in finding a writer, and instead invests in Telugu film Kshanam, slightly tweaking the storyline to make it his own. Even the dialogues are written in rhymes, and amplified to win applause, but what it does instead, is annoy.

For Hollywood fans, American science fiction adventure film Ready Player One, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke and Ben Mendelsohn, comes to India this week. Spielberg has seemingly done the impossible: balancing sugar-rush nostalgia with an involving story to create a pure, uncynical, cinematic ride that recaptures the magic of his early films, says Empire magazine. The OASIS that Spielberg puts on screen is a visual marvel—obviously computer-generated as befits the fact it’s a fictional video game, but realistic enough that it doesn’t just feel as though you’re watching a very expensive cartoon. The action has weight and consequence. And it’s saturated with pop-culture references, some obvious, some so blink-and-you’ll-miss-it a Blu-ray and a remote control for freeze-framing will be required to spot them all.

Horror film Jigsaw, directed by Michael and Peter Spierig and starring Matt Passmore, Callum Keith Rennie and Clé Bennett, features a few clever traps, but it also has sadly thin characters and ridiculous twists, says Commonsensemedia. The “games" in Jigsaw have the feel of a spooky, grown-up haunted house, even if the characters who are put through them are aggravatingly shallow and spend most of the movie screaming at one another.

The Florida Project, directed by Sean Baker and starring Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince and Bria Vinaite, could easily have been cruel and exploitative, says The New York Times, punishing its characters for their wildness and the audience for enjoying it. But the director, who wrote the script with Chris Bergoch, avoids the traps of condescension and prurience that ensnare too many well-meaning movies about poverty in America. Like Baker’s earlier features Starlet and Tangerine, this movie insists on meeting people on both sides of the screen where they are, on suspending judgement and extending compassion without abandoning its ethical grounding.

In the south, Telugu period revenge drama Rangasthalam, directed by Sukumar and starring Ram Charan and Samantha Akkineni, is a raw drama backed by Charan’s stellar performance and meticulous artwork depicting village settings of the 1980s, says telugu360.com. However, an overdose of terribly dragged sentimental scenes in the second half kills the commercial aspect to an extent.

Malayalam comedy Vikadakumaran, starring Vishnu Unnikrishnan, Dharmajan Bolgatty and Indrans and directed by Boban Samuel, succeeds in the comedy scenes but the storyline seems to waver at some points, says The Times of India. The villain’s character played by Jinu Joseph doesn’t offer anything new to the audience. This one is worth just for the laughs.

Kannada action film Johnny Johnny Yes Papa, Marathi drama Gavthi and Bengali drama Hariye Jawa haven’t inspired any reviews yet.

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