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Movie review 'Action Jackson': Prabhudheva wins bet that there can be films worse than 'Humshakals'

Published Dec 5, 2014, 8:16 pm IST
Updated Mar 30, 2019, 9:02 am IST
Ajay Devgn fans might want to give this one a miss so as not to ruin him for themselves for good
Rating: Minus 1
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Sonakshi Sinha, Yami Gautam, Manasvi Mamgai
Director: Prabhudheva
There are bad films, there are so-bad-they-are-good films. And then there is 'Action Jackson'. Bollywood has trained us well enough to know that we are not to use our grey cells one bit while watching films like 'Action Jackson'. We have sat through Sajid Khan’s seven-course torture fest 'Humshakals', we can sit through anything. Right?
If only. This film makes you realise that Prabhudheva (perhaps that extra ‘h’ now stands for horror) entered into a bet (with himself?) to show the world there can be films worse than 'Humshakals'. So yes, sorry Sajid Khan, we stand corrected.
This reviewer is tempted to use the word ‘story’ to get started but there’s a dead end. Is it an action-comedy? Is it a comic thriller? Is it an action-thriller-comedy? We don’t know what the director intended it to be. Bollywood and its genres and sub-genres are more confused than Ajay Devgn’s dance moves. The trailers had us believe those would be the most hard-to-endure bits in the film, gone in a song or two. But that was actually a warning.
His is a double role. One of his avatars, Vishy, is a roadside romeo gunda who kicks and punches to music, uses toothpicks to fight 20 goons at once and tries his underwear before buying them. Yes, you read that right. During one of these trials, Khushi played by Sonakshi Sinha (who else) sees him with his pants down and the sight of his willy changes her fortunes. From being screamed at her boss daily for coming late to work, she gets promoted to the head of the human resource department in her office. Now she has her eyes on an NRI rishta from America and to ensure it all goes according to plan, she must have a look at junior Ajay once again. This HR head uses her A-game to.yes only to finally fall in love with the rest of him as well. “Ata majhi phatli” she says at one point. And this, dear friends, is only a minor distraction from the real plot that is unfurling somewhere in a gangster’s den in Bangkok.
If Vishy believes in the power of toothpicks, Ajay’s other avatar AJ has put his faith on a samurai sword that he pulls out of his shirt before ripping it off. This happens several times giving us a generous glimpse of his ripped torso that’s home to a very ugly tattoo. This gentleman saves a gangster’s perennially half naked sister’s (Manasvi Mamgai) honour. But when his own ladylove (Yami Gautam) calls him for help, saying she is being chased by a group of goons, he asks her, “What are they wearing?” (The answer is orange suits, for those who care.)
Perennialy half-naked gangster sister, her name is Marina btw, has fallen head over heels for her savior AJ. She’s meant to be a devious vamp but comes across as someone badly in need of rehab. And her brother, the gang lord, has bloodstain on his bald head for a style statement. And a glass eye for intimidation.  
The absurdity of it all we can still make peace with. But when the vamp watches in hungry glee a live recording of the murder of another girl, the violence gets vulgar. When Vishy tries to grope a fainted Khushi, and it’s meant as one of those tender romantic moments, we wonder how a film like this gets passed with a U/A certificate.
Yami’s is the only normal performance in the film and she might want to be grateful for a short screen time. Manasvi has a meaty role but lacks the nuance to play a psychotic bloodthirsty gangster. Therefore her curves are amply objectified to make her screen time count. Sonakshi, the lesser said about her, the better. The only one more pointless than her in the film is Kunaal Roy Kapoor, Ajay’s sidekick. And Ajay Devgn? His fans might want to give this one a miss so as not to ruin him for themselves for good. Someone who has done films like 'Omkara' and 'Gangajal' or even the 'Golmaal' series, does he really need to do this? And Prabhudheva, how can a man with so much grace on camera be so utterly lacking it when he slips behind the lenses? How? Why? These are the questions the film leaves you with.
The opening credits say “special thanks” to Shahid Kapur. You will agree because when he comes on screen to shake a leg for a couple of minutes, he makes it the only good thing in the two-and-a-half hour cringe fest.