What is one supposed to make of a man who wears a sweater and an overcoat in the middle of a Middle Eastern desert? This is our introduction to Shamsher Singh, an arms dealer played by Anil Kapoor in Race 3. As he alights from a chopper and confronts a turncoat, Singh establishes his credentials. He’s serious about his business and puts commerce before all else.

The millionaire Singh has two constant refrains—family first, and how he yearns to return home to his village in Uttar Pradesh. This gives writers Shiraz Ahmed and Kiran Kotrial an opportunity to write Bhojpuri dialogue which, when recited by Salman Khan and Daisy Shah, is hilarious, but inadvertently so. In fact, there are many such unintentionally comical moments, triggered by substandard actors taking themselves way too seriously while spouting lines such as “You die when you gotta die", “Ise dil nahin Dell khol kar dikhao" and “Our business is our business, none of your business".

But that’s Remo D’Souza’s Race 3 for you—when it takes itself most seriously is when you applaud in glee at the onscreen nonsense. For example, twins Saqib Saleem and Shah referring to each other as “bro" or the lyric “Ek baar baby selfish hoke apne liye jiyo na".

The plot involves double-crossing, deceit, sibling rivalry, a love triangle, a dark secret and a hard disk locked in a vault in Cambodia, but logic is not one of the cornerstones of Ahmed’s script. If you break down the Race franchise, this is what you need to consider. There are six main characters. Each one needs a slo-mo entry (that’s 2-5 minutes each multiplied by 6), each one gets an action scene (or in pairs) and a song/dance/dream sequence (again, in pairs). That’s already around 75 minutes. So you need only an hour or so more of storytelling, and if it’s a Salman Khan film, then you don’t really need much of a story either. You only need swagger, a topless shot of Khan, and a set-up which ensures that he comes out looking heroic.

Like all Race films before, there are “twists" every few minutes after the interval. There are beautiful cars, clothes and some spectacular sunglasses, plus a few action set-pieces to please the front benchers. And if Jacqueline Fernandez is in the movie, you can be sure her pole is not far behind (yes, she has a pole dance in this too).

Anil Kapoor looks fine and shows how a skilled performer can shine even in the most mundane of projects. As for the others, Shah, Saleem and Fernandez emerge as the worst performers, followed by Bobby Deol and Freddy Daruwala. Khan appears to be winging it—with his dialogue, dancing and blocking.

Considering that choreographer D’Souza is at the helm of this action extravaganza, it’s shocking to note the shoddy dance routines and the pedestrian lyrics. The only song with some style and energy is the Race anthem Allah duhai hai. A chase scene in a jungle and a climactic sequence in the desert are notable for Ayananka Bose’s cinematography and stunts by Thomas Struthers.

Early on in this 160-minute film, there is a passing shot of the Intelligence Bureau. Figuring out the “spy" in Singh’s ring is not rocket science. Indeed, neither science nor intelligence make it to the starting block of Race 3.

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