Cast: Vijay, Samantha, Amy Jackson, Mahendran, Radhikaa
Theri, directed by Atlee and starring Vijay, is an emotion packed action entertainer that flirts with logic but which ultimately decides to forego it. The story it tries to narrate gets revealed before it could even get started when a tame and docile version of Vijay - Joseph Kuruvilla who runs a bakery is spotted in Kerala with his very young daughter Nivi (Baby Nainika) and with very little inclination to confront, let alone fight. When an incident involving his daughter and her school teacher Annie (Amy Jackson) puts this fragile reality into disarray, the history in the film commences: the tale of an IPS officer Vijaykumar (Vijay) in Chennai who is capable of enduring pain and anguish beyond most mortals while possessing the strength and agility to take out 20 men all by himself. When he locks horns with an influential politician Vaanamamalai (director Mahendran), all hell breaks loose and Vijay loses his family including his lovable wife Mithra (Samantha) and doting mother (Radhikaa), but manages to escape with little daughter. One can't help but remember Rajinikanth’s cult movie Baashaand Vijayakanth’s cop story 'Chatriyan'.
The film highly relies on Vijay's strength and charisma to carry it through, thus living up to the expectations and the huge pre hype created to some extent. There's certain bigness about his character that is seldom found in most actors. When the moment comes to raise his tempo, he does so with ease, and when he had to simmer down and act like a normal human being, he does that as well. It's as though his ego and pride are super flexible levers that he could turn and down, as and when he pleases. Samantha looks pretty and has fair amount of screen space compared to Amy who is just functional as a heroine. However, both heroines serve the purpose adding the glam quotient. It is Nainika, daughter of actress Meena who steals the show. She is adorable and spontaneous. The father-daughter bond works to partly with funny one-liners. Mahendran is the usual villain whom we have seen in 80s films. Radhikaa and Mottai Rajendren come out with a neat performance.
The first half moves at a slow pace, but post interval it picks up momentum. Too many issues like IT girl being brutally raped, mafia gang crippling children for begging, no safety norms for construction workers are being dealt with. Yet another drawback is that the narration is set in a formulaic pattern – moving from comedy to sentiments and then there are huge action blocks and finally finishes with song routines. Technically, cinematography by George C Williams is brilliant with colorful visuals be it in songs and the action sequences. GV Prakash’s background score warrants mention. The mass movie will be well savored by Ilayathalapathy’s ardent fans.