Movies

Commando 2: On an ingratiating mission

Action chops take a backseat while demonetisation propaganda takes the wheel

Commando 2 is an action film that decides to wear another mask; of topicality, social consciousness and patriotism, all for the heck of it. In the process the film loses its own identity entirely. The epilogue and prologue (obviously added as an afterthought post November 8, 2016) try to give a contemporary frame to what is essentially just another fantasy about getting the Indian black money home from overseas. What you end up with is a propaganda vehicle for demonetisation rather than an edge-of-the-seat thriller; one that makes perfunctory noises about farmer suicides and peddles the false dream of “Rs 15 lakh in every citizen’s account”, i.e. once all the money returns. There are references to Swachh Bharat and to desh bhakti—one character randomly talks about his name—Zafar Hussain—and the onus of proving his patriotism to the world. Another casually talks about the pleasure in serving the nation. We remain eminently unmoved.

So you have a team of four—Commando Karan Singh (Vidyut Jammwal), ACP Bakhtawar (Freddy Daruwala), Inspector Bhavna Reddy (Adah Sharma) and Systems hacker Zafar Hussain (Sumit Gulati)—all on a mission to get a big black money launderer back to India from Malaysia. The idea is to wring out all the secrets from him about the accounts and the account holders—the corrupt businessmen and politicians. Much of what ensues defies logic—like a cockroach giving an important lead—and you surrender to the plot holes in a narrative that is a minefield of inconsistencies, in the hope that the action set pieces will be the saving grace. Computers get hacked, the chases wind on, cars get smashed, and there are countless gunshots and stabbings. But there is hardly any high voltage drama, the kind that gives you the adrenaline rush, save in the opening credits and a sequence in the finale that has been shot like a video game.

Commando 2: The Black Money Trail
  • Director: Deven Bhojani
  • Starring: Vidyut Jammwal, Adah Sharma, Esha Gupta, Shefali Shah, Anjum Rajabali
  • Run time: 123 mins

The film demonstrates a high level of obsequiousness for the government and the powers that be – all politicians and ministers get absolved in the corruption game by a highly contrived twist in the tale. It is worse than the supposed grand reveal at interval. No wonder then that, Vidyut Jammwal—even though he may speak in a baritone, sport the right muscles, slither up the wall and swing from buildings athletically, go somersaulting with agility and singlehandedly take on several goons—just can’t make an impact. And as with most standard action films women are reduced to glam dolls and jokers.

However, there were a few takeaways – Shefali Shah, as the home minister, wears some lovely kalamkari saris teamed up with mismatched blouses. I was most amused on seeing writer Anjum Rajabali step into the (fictional) Prime Minister’s shoes and laughed out loud to find a villain sporting my hairstyle, without the sprinkling of grey, of course. Also, as much as the film keeps harping on desh bhakti, a small mercy was that the national anthem didn’t get shoved in the middle. Welcome to the world of sarkari cinema.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 1:50:20 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/commando-2-vidyut-jammawal-review/article17402099.ece

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