'Action Jackson' review: Murders & mayhem!
By: Sonia Chopra
Critic's Rating: 17/5
Friday 5 December 2014
Ajay Devgn, Sonakshi Sinha, Manasvi Mamgai, Yami Gautam, Kunaal Roy Kapur
The film begins with a terrible opening scene where a few men in orange (the goon army of a don) are smashing someone?s head through a windshield, while putting a bullet in another person?s head (shown to us in detail, in slow-mo). In another corner of the world, we see Ajay Devgn playing the ?Good Guy?. So in a montage spanning a few minutes, we see him meditate, lend his umbrella to school-going kids, rescue a snake, help a pregnant lady, and so on. Point taken.
He?s working as a waiter in Pune and arrives to Mumbai for a holiday. Once in Mumbai, the mild-mannered fellow is beaten up. He?s confused. There?s a backstory to it all, which is too tedious to be introduced in the review.
The film unfolds in a world of its own. A world where, a man sitting on a bike finds his plate of pani-puri empty, because the puris had flown out of his plate into the mouth of the bike-rider behind him, where ketchup defies gravity, where goons can be defeated with toothpicks.
The film often shows us a literal representation of a character?s conversation, through cartoons. There?s an attempt to include a funny line in each conversation, leading to serious over-kill, as most of the jokes are lame anyway. Dialogue has lines like, ?Ye to Mercedes hai, ek baar test drive karna padega,? referring to the attractive female villain.
But the truly inane stuff happens in the serious scenes?when two criminals are talking about ?insaaniyat?, and one asks the other to help him out in a life-and-death situation when they?ve only just met. Naturally, the other one agrees, and zips off from Mumbai to Bangkok into the devil?s lair to help out his brand new ?friend?.
The action is omnipresent and gratuitous. While some of it? smashing cars, knives, guns?is standard stuff, here it crosses the line into extreme violence. You see a knife piercing someone?s beating heart, swords piercing through flesh, a knife being shoved in someone?s mouth, and so on. Then you have the scene of a woman being beaten while the brother-sister villainous duo, watch the live show over drinks.
The violence and bloodshed gets so vehement, you?d rather look away, as this writer had to do on several occasions. You can watch the continuous violence only if you?re willing to turn into a zombie and switch off all your senses.
Action Jackson<,/i> is clearly stuck in a time-warp?this is a film where the villain is named Xavier, has a bald head, a brown scar, and one bad eye (stark white contacts, if you please). His sister, equally villainous, has a background sound attributed to her ? the bhootni laugh from Ramsay films. (The film is worth checking out, just for this unintentionally comical intrusion). That the role is played by debutante Manasvi Mamgai (a former Miss India) makes it far more interesting than intended. The lady can do a mean bad act, has great screen presence, and is a fabulous dancer. The latter is a crucial aspect in a Prabhu Dheva movie, as the songs are the film?s highlight, certainly true of Action Jackson. Indeed, the songs are superb and are choreographed brilliantly.
The cast is fabulous and Ajay-Sonakshi?s chemistry is super-fun to watch. Even individually, the two are in form, giving smooth performances and folding in plenty of humour along the way.
Ajay Devgn, referred to as superman in the film, dances, smashes baddies to music beats, mouths silly dialogue that don?t make sense, flies out of fire with the heroine in tow, and kills at least a hundred people. And he does all with the familiar drill of working the intense eyes and goofy grin.
No one plays the urban, ditzy girl like Sonakshi Sinha and she?s superb in the humorous scenes like the one where she?s having her breakfast directly from the carton, or is on the quest to see Ajay?s character without pants (never mind).
The film is worth a watch strictly for the cast and the songs. That?s if you?re willing to endure the unbelievably long and violent film for that. Clearly, Prabhu Dheva (Wanted, R?Rajkumar, Rowdy Rathore) is in no mood to let go of the stale Bollywood formula. And as the audience, you can either play along or move on!
Rating: Two and a half stars