Direction: Sailesh Kolanu
Cinematography: S Mani Kandan
Music: MM Sreelekha, Suresh Bobbilli, John Stewart Eduri
Editor: Garry BH
Cast: Adivi Sesh, Meenakshi Chaudhary, Komalee Prasad, Rao Ramesh,
Posani Krishna Murali, Srinath Maganti, Harsha Vardhan
HIT 2 is a significant improvement over its predecessor HIT, but buckles under the pressure of its ambitious set up by the time the mystery unravels.
Netflix struck gold with its depiction of serial killers with shows like “Mindhuter” and “Dahmer” – based on real-world serial killers – meant to investigate the inner world of a person. Successful movies and shows like “American Psycho” and “Dexter” depict unimaginably twisted and unpredictable individuals who are compelled to kill as a reaction to their own dispassion to society and its occupants. The “serial killer genre” doesn’t exist by itself, but has wildly exploded
across multiple formats as a genre with a captive audience hungry for more.
South Korean cinema has served up some nuanced interpretations of the serial killer story with brilliant movies like “I Saw the Devil” and “Memories of a Murder” that get under the skin of the horrific nature of these crimes while taking a sensitive look at those affected by them. The “HIT Franchise” plays out along similar lines as these are part social commentary, and part edge-of-the-seat potboilers — with the stories at their heart drawing inspiration from real life crimes and the chaos that come with the attention that horrifying events like
Adivi Sesh plays Krishna Deva (KD), an upbeat, charismatic SP incharge of the Homicide Investigation Team (HIT) in Vizag. KD has a laid back approach to even the most seemingly pressing situations, but makes up for his nonchalance through his efficient, straightforward manner of tackling the most challenging cases. In his interactions with one very persistent reporter (played by Posani Krishna Murali), KD presents the image of a person who is unfazed by any controversy, with no tendency for second guessing himself once he feels he is in the right. The newly-appointed DGP (Rao Ramesh) is dismissive of his eager cadet and KD in turn has some tension seething under the surface towards his
subordinate Varsha (Komalee Prasad). Outside of work, KD convinces his
girlfriend Aarya (Meenakshi Chaudhary) to move in with him. A romantic
montage later, life seems to be looking up for KD.
Abhilash (Srinath Maganti), an officer from the Hyderabad HIT investigating a case, takes the audience back to the prequel. As they talk, KD is summoned to a crime scene at a restaurant where the female has been brutally murdered and as a last act of desecration, mutilated and neatly arranged in orderly pieces. The forensics report has yet another shocker waiting for us: except for the head, the limbs rearranged as the original murder victim’s, in fact, belong to different people each.
And so begins a game of twists and turns, with the case taking on a life on its own under the glare of media publicity and misdirection that seem to lead KD to dead ends in the course of the investigation.
His eagerness to nail down the perpetrator as the pressure weighs down on him backfires when he realises that all may not be as it seems – especially in the light of evidence suggesting that the killer may have completely eluded them after all and is now going to go after Aarya.
Just like the first movie, HIT 2 is a star vehicle with the camera trained on Adivi Sesh from the moment he appears on screen. Adivi Sesh, on his part, is a delight to watch on screen as he switches between tenderness and intensity with absolute ease. Since the movie takes its procedural part very seriously, it uses ample advantage of the screen time in building up the tension in key scenes that pull the viewer into its mystery. The first half has solid writing and is smartly directed, building up very well to an interval bang that will leave the viewers shocked. Not for the squeamish, the makers have been generous with the depiction of gore for full effect while avoiding gratuity.
However, it is in the second half where the problems of such a multi-layered narrative begin to emerge. Since the director spends so much time setting up red herrings and sub-plots for the rest of the movie, the pacing begins to meander in the second half.
The film contains entertaining components, but these elements quickly run their course. The film tends to bite off more than it can chew and the end result turns into a disappointment.
More often than not, the director seems to have written his characters into a corner, leading up to an absurd plot hole here and there. The writing needed to be more insightful and incisive, particularly because of the real-world incidents it tried to play up on. In particular, perhaps the biggest let down was when the build up to the killer closing in on KD finally gets interesting, the big reveal
simply comes across as a little too far-fetched.
Overall, however, the movie stands its ground as a slick, entertaining thriller with beautiful lighting and camerawork and a moody score to boot. The action sequence where KD gives the prime suspect of the killings, Raghava, a chase through the docks is worth noting for its impressive action choreography and camerawork.
Apart from Adivi Sesh, the performances are nothing to write home about, where the supporting actors and the villain himself seem like accessories to move KD’s story forward to a neatly wrapped conclusion to the sequel. This particular point was driven home to me in the ending scene, where the segue to the sequel seemed to reinvigorate the entire theatre with enthusiasm. Not since the reveal of actor Suriya as Rolex in “Vikram” have I seen an audience cheer so avidly.
And finally, a special mention to the “Max” the Belgian Malinois, who is a superstar, and perhaps the finest “Chekov’s gun” fired in the movie. And boy, did the theatre erupt in its loudest cheer when he finally came in to save the day.