Cast: Vidyut Jamwal, Adah Sharma, Shefali Shah, Adil Hussain, Esha Gupta
Director: Deven Bhojani
I have been waiting endlessly for a film that would, perhaps, equal if not surpass, any Hollywood actioner. Am I being unrealistic in expecting a great action-oriented Mumbaiyya film that has high-octane thrilling sequences, and has a believable sinewy hero knocking down tens of challengers in one stroke? Or, is it that my expectations are too high? For millions of Indians, who have been affected by all those ruthless lawbreakers with scant regard for either morals or homeland, it brings cheers to the mere thought of getting all that amassed wealth back, for it to get consumed and made good use of. Producer Vipul Shah is ostensibly enamoured with PM’s drive against black money and has smartly crafted a tale that would fulfil our government’s dream: transfer all the black money into poor farmers’ accounts. On that count, Commando 2 seems very well-timed! Whatever be the case, at the end of any Friday afternoon, we are left wondering if ever we will get there. If ever… And so with trepidation, I found myself seated in a theatre watching Vidyut Jamwal — who, I am told, has a long list of female following that would put John Abraham’s to shame.
At its core, Commando 2 has India’s most wanted black money agent, Vicky Chaddha (Vansh Bhardwaj) getting arrested in Malaysia, and being kept in a safe house by Malaysian authorities, along with his wife. For obvious reasons, he may be wanted by some, but there are also many who would want him dead. And that’s not all: Politicians are worried sick, so are some businessmen. While a team of four: police officers Bhavna Reddy (Adah Sharma) and Bhaktawar (Freddy Daruwala), a hacker (Sumit Gulati) and another is being readied by home minister Leela (Shefali Shah) and sent to Malaysia to bring Vicky and black money to India, a special-ops secret agent for the Indian armed services, Captain Karanvir Singh Dogra (Jamwal) thinks ahead of their plans to come up with his own strategy to outsmart them, and get to Chaddha first. He forces his way in to become an integral part of this team. Does he use his supreme combat skills to eradicate black money, which has been siphoned off to banks abroad, or does he have other talents too, to outmanoeuvre others? No prizes for guessing that the rest of the film shows off his kicks and punches to get to the truth. From here on, the story also follows Karan as he uses his brain and brawn to recover all of the laundered black money.
With some guesswork left for the viewers to gnaw on, the film paces ahead as each gravity-defying action marathon with firing of countless rounds of ammunition, and some characters getting bloodily riddled with bullets, unfold in split seconds. And when necks get broken, numerous stabbings and falls from lethal heights take place in the midst of explosions, all one could possibly do is to sit and wonder. Oblivious to the mission in between, there is growth of some characters’ inter-personal relationships with a few twists and turns on its way. I am sure, on paper, both Shah and Bhojani thought they had a winner in their hands. There is an impressive cast comprising Shefali Shah, Adil Hussain, Atul Kumar and Satish Kaushik to keep the action going. What they forgot was one most essential key element: a plausible plot that would involve politics of the nation intertwined with politics of crime. There is nothing wrong with their intentions though. Be it crime and criminals; politicians and convicts; law-enforcers and lawbreakers; we are all aware of the nexus between them. But do government officials act and respond — not to mention mouth inanities — like the ones their onscreen characters seem to suggest they do? Any government plan may be clandestinely executed; it doesn’t require beefy men on a mission outfoxing other strategists’ moves.
The director tries to add a bit of humour too between the larky police officer Bhavna Reddy and the no-nonsense straight-faced killing machine Karan. The two seem unlikely mates thrown together in pursuit of a deadly opponent. Despite her being dimwit whose Hyderabadi accent annoys the viewers no end, they do pull off a terrific series of tracking shots during a chase in a crowded galleria complex, but their onscreen chemistry dissolves into an unmitigated boredom. Wish there was some intelligent writing too thrown in, for us to enjoy the so-called fun. To watch a Jamwal film and not acknowledge his contribution will be a little harsh. After all, he is the one who lights up the film like a firefly, and yes, he does deliver a certain light touch of his own, and makes action comics palatable, that too, when he is compelled to deal with an absurd plot (Story: Suresh Nair, Screenplay: Ritesh Shah). He looks and plays his part with aplomb, and we are blessed by Shah’s decision to cast his insouciance that may look charming and even appealing to his female fans.
The writer is a film critic and has been reviewing films for over 15 years. He also writes on music, art and culture, and other human interest stories....