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Holiday is to Thuppakki what Ghajini was to Ghajini—a mostly faithful Hindi remake of a Tamil blockbuster. A.R. Murugadoss’ entertainer displays greater fidelity to its source than did his Ghajini reboot, down to the bloated running length of 170 minutes. The situations are the same, the dialogue is translated verbatim and the heroine hasn’t yet grown a brain, but the Hindi version misses out on the charisma of its leading man. Holiday’s Akshay Kumar is a poor match for Tamil superstar Vijay, who has built a career out of supplanting average acting skills with practised insouciance. Thuppakki translates into loaded gun, but although Kumar is gifted with a crowd-pleasing script and ample room to showcase his fighting skills, he is altogether slower on the draw.

Kumar looks a tad too old as Virat, a military secret agent who falls in love and saves the nation from the dastardly designs of an Islamist sleeper cell during a most eventful vacation in Mumbai. Virat’s romance with Saiba (Sonakshi Sinha) is a sideshow to the cat-and-mouse game he plays with a mysterious evil genius (Farhad, a poor replacement for Vidyut Jamwal in the original), who plans to blow Mumbai to smithereens. Virat’s take-no-prisoners policy is strictly off the books, and only his best friend, sub-inspector Mukund (Sumeet Raghvan), is privy to his actions, which include kidnapping, torture, extra-judicial killings, putting family and friends at risk, and generally behaving like the stereotypical army man who has contempt for the prudent ways of civilians.

Murugadoss’ screenplay has one hand stuck to his temple in perennial salute to the valorous and sacrificing ways of the men in uniform. The applause-worthy punch dialogue, along with neatly choreographed scenes of suspense, takes off some of the rough edges of the questionable vigilante politics, but not entirely. Holiday’s slickness and the adroit use of actual locations in Mumbai can’t prevent slippages into ludicrousness. The action sequences are shot and edited in a jittery, breakneck style to convey immediacy and tension, but the director takes a break to stretch ever so often and address the redundant question of whether Virat and Saiba will ever get together. Govinda pops up in a cameo, as a third leg to the romance, in a role made memorable by Malayali actor Jayaram in the original, while the other comic moments are purely unintentional—paraplegic defence victims are recruited to assemble bombs, and a Christian government functionary pairs up with Muslim terrorists to take over the army. It’s what they call entertainment.

Holiday released in theatres on Friday.

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