Paayum Puli, written and directed by Suseenthiran, is a movie that is entertaining in parts but is disjointed in plot, and narration. In it, we have Vishal who plays a virtuous cop and who is always a step ahead of the insidious thugs and murderers with whom he plays ball. With style, purpose, and confidence, he takes down these scums of society one at a time, but such incessant action and suspense comes at a price: it stretches any underlying logic to a thin line and leaves behind a fragile plot.
The premise is easy to understand: Jeyaseelan (Vishal) is a cop who performs undercover operations to weed out the criminals of Madurai. His exceptionalism is obvious for all to see: his quickness with guns lends him fearlessness when facing thugs; and his planning gives him a certainty that everything is going to work out just the way he thought it would (and it often does.) What more, his moral landscape is perfectly calibrated to counteract those of his enemies. A death in the ranks of the police brings all these elements of Jeyaseelan to the foreground. He comes to find out that there is a gang behind this murder, and what more, this gang harasses affluent businessmen to acquire a significant amount of money. In the meanwhile, a beauty by the name of Sowmya (Kajal Aggarwal) enters the scene, and Jeyaseelan is instantly transfixed by her irresistible charm and cuteness. A romance of sort kindles in the midst of a number of axe-and-gun fights. What happens to her in the second half is an unresolved mystery.
Anyways, Jeyaseelan continues on his moral crusade, taking down one henchman after another, with the help of his best buddy, Murugesan (Soori.) The significance of the people in his hitlist keeps rising, and eventually, he comes to an halt as the topmost piece of the pyramid is yet to be discovered. Sowmya’s dad - Lakshmi Narayanan (Jaya Prakash) and Jevaseelan’s own family provide him with plenty of food for thought as to who might be behind all this criminality. The answer, unsurprisingly, is right below his nose: his ambitious brother, Senthil (Samudhrakani) whose aspirations of winning elections leads him to all kinds of murderous greed.
Paayum Puli is packed with soft progressions. There are hardly any genuine surprises and you could easily guess a large chunk of the proceedings. Vishal radiates a cool and clever vibe, and his moves are full of energy and enthusiasm. But performances alone cannot make up for the poor script and precarious plot-lines. Soori as his trusty righthand is funny in parts and is careful to not steal the limelight from Vishal. And Samudhrakani as the sly villain comes across as threatening, although one does question as to how his physique kept up with that of the impeccable Jeyaseelan when they eventually do face each other head on.
Music by Imman has plenty of masala during the first half. And Vel Raj’s cinematography captures an appealing mix of the urbanized and the pastoral. With plenty of action and criminals waiting to be apprehended, Paayum Puli is a pure entertainer, but a weak script will leave you wondering and wandering....