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Commando review: Action ka reaction!

Dilip Ghosh
Vidyut Jamwal, Pooja Chopra, Jaideep Ahlawat
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His muscles seem to have a life of their own. Look at him now, as he gives a Zen smile with hair fluttering gently, even as a mean baddie comes charging towards him. Bade aaram se. No, this is no underwear ad, thought the setting is amusingly similar.

Our hero— a commando on the run— is saving the girl from the area’s dreaded goon AK-47 (Jaideep Ahlawat). Now AK is feared by all and local legend has it that he was born on “amavasya ki raat” with no eye pupils, and indeed today, has two white patches for eyes. That he was born in 1974 explains his name.

AK wants the girl; the girl is on the run. In steps our Commando Karanvir (Vidyut Jammwal). So Vidyut Jammwal gets to do what Salman did in Wanted, John in Force (where he was the villain) and Ajay Devgn in Singham. Fight a lot of goons, save the girl and then win over her heart, do dialoguebaazi and then fight some more goons.

It’s the same old routine, but our desi audience seems to love this kind of film. Folks at the multiplex where this writer watched the film tried to get in a single-theatre feel by hooting and clapping whenever the hero said something larger-than-life or bashed up another gunda.

Interestingly, the film hasn’t compromised on its technical chops. So you have the couple run through the moodily-lit forest, even as the camera tilts down dangerously alongside tall trees to show them hiding. The location, along Himachal and into the interiors of Punjab, has been beautifully captured. The background score is fun and the music really good.

The action, the centerpiece of the film, flits between really good (especially the chases) to mediocre.

Debut director Dilp Ghosh has stuck to the formula of this genre and kept the characterization simplistic. The hero is the strong, silent type—wronged by the system and now on a mission to clean up it up. Interestingly, he believes in giving the knife to the girl for her protection, one which she uses too. The girl is talkative, attractive, and eventually rescued by the hero. The villain is inhuman; even in his monster-eyed ‘look’ and likes telling sms jokes to people he’s about to murder.

The dialogue is cheesy with lines like ‘Kabhi akele nikal. Mard banne ka ehsaas ho jayega’ (you should come out alone. You’ll know what it feels like to be a man). And the girl calling the reticent hero “sannate ka thanedaar”. He doesn’t have a recurring dialogue like most in the genre do, but he has enough alpha male ones like this one, “Jungle ka kanoon hai. Maaro ya maro.” And another one about the sher and shikaari.

Vidyut Jammwal does well, I guess. He’s beefed up beyond belief—the most important prerequisite to the post of a Bollywood action hero. He’s good with the dialoguebaazi also. Pooja Chopra is also fairly good, never getting on the nerves with her ‘bubbly girl’ act.

If you love the maar-dhaad masala genre, this one’s for you. Lovers of subtlety, kindly keep away!

Rating: Two and a half stars


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