The first edition of Singam had a lot going for it. Honest cops have been cracking down on villains since the beginning of Indian cinema. An honest cop who wanted to, and tried for the most part, solve issues through counselling without resorting to violence was something new. Back that up with convincing performances, a few surprises, fast-paced action and loads of laughter and you had a winner.

Perhaps due to the absence of any quirkiness to the characterisation of the lead actor, Singam 2 ends up being a routine action-comedy. Yet, you go with the flow largely because of the earnestness that Suriya brings into his character.

Narasimham (Suriya) is now an undercover cop. At the behest of the Home Minister of the state (played by Vijay Kumar), he works as a school teacher training NCC cadets in Kakinada. The job helps him snoop around the coastal town, observe the activities of anti-social elements and identify the black sheep in the police force. The mafia is larger than he thinks. There’s drug dealing across borders involving heavyweights. Meanwhile, Narasimham’s own family is unaware that he’s an undercover cop. His father (Radha Ravi) whose only dream was to see him as a cop, refuses to give his consent for Narasimham and Kavya’s (Anushka Shetty) wedding.

The premise is not bad at all. The trouble begins when the screenplay unfolds at a leisurely pace and then the team tries to pack in way too much to offer us an action-filled cop drama.

Suriya roars, flexes his muscles, runs, jumps and beats his opponents to a pulp over and over again. Instead of one Prakash Raj, here he takes on Mukesh Rishi, Rahman and a supposedly African national who keeps reiterating ‘I am the king of Indian Ocean’. In fact, all these villains put together don’t make half the impact that Prakash Raj did in Singam. ‘The king of Indian Ocean’ does little else but grunt to Devi Sri Prasad’s background score.

The screenplay is linear and predictable. Narasimham launches ‘Operation D’ and quite often, instead of resorting to smart mind games, announces his next move to the villains. With no big surprises coming your way, all that remains is to watch the cops do longwinded chases — from Kakinada to Hyderabad to Vizag and finally culminating in Durban, South Africa. Giving us a reprieve now and then is Santhanam with his terrific comic timing.

Singam 2 is Suriya’s show all the way. While his performance is not found wanting in any way, we wish he had dubbed for the Telugu version too. Anushka Shetty and Hansika struggle in their ill-etched characters. There’s a battalion of actors in the supporting cast including Vivek, Radha Ravi, Mansoor Ali Khan, Vijay Kumar, Nizhalgal Ravi and Manorama, each one of them trying to shine in the few scenes given to them.

The songs fail to register and the lyrics are as unimaginative as ‘Let’s sing and dance, Singam dance’.

Singam 2 could have been shorter in length and smarter with its story line. Watch it only for Suriya.

SINGAM 2

Cast: Suriya, Anushka Shetty and Hansika Motwani

Direction: Hari

Music: Devi Sri Prasad

Bottom line: The lion roars without making an impact.