‘RDX’ movie review: Delivers no-holds barred action, and nothing more

The lead cast of Shane Nigam, Antony ‘Pepe’ Varghese, Neeraj Madhav, Mahima Nambiar and Vishnu Agasthya carry this film that shines with some pulsating action sequences

August 25, 2023 05:35 pm | Updated 05:35 pm IST

A still from ‘RDX’

A still from ‘RDX’

A sobered-down fighter, carrying in his gait and time-worn face the glimmers of a bloody past, happens to be a commonly used trope in mass actioners. In RDX, we have not just one, but three trained martial arts fighters, Robert (Shane Nigam), his brother Dony (Antony ‘Pepe’ Varghese) and their friend Xavier (Neeraj Madhav), who have left their past behind settled down into their relatively more peaceful lives. Yet, the embers of past combats have not fully died out, and could reappear anytime, disrupting their serenity.

In Nahas Hidayath’s debut directorial, a daring home invasion and brutal violence appears as the triggering point, upsetting the peace that exists in the lives of the protagonists. It is the event around which the numerous fight sequences that fill the film are written, for it has a connection to their past and a bearing on their future. In some of the recent Malayalam films filled with one fight sequence after another, one gets a feeling that they were looking for a reason to fight; in RDX, the preceding events justifies the action that follows in most cases.

Director: Nahas Hidayath
Cast: Shane Nigam, Antony ‘Pepe’ Varghese, Neeraj Madhav, Mahima Nambiar, Vishnu Agasthya, Babu Antony, Lal, Aima Rosmy Sebastian
Duration: 154 minutes
Storyline: Trained martial arts fighters Robert, Dony and Xaiver, who had settled down to their peaceful lives get back to their fighting ways after one of them faces a violent attack.

For added measure, one of them even preaches the value of restraining oneself, when one is possessed with such fighting powers, a maxim which they don’t necessarily follow all the time. As one fight makes way for another, one is reminded of films like Thallumalaand Ajagajantharam, which also followed similar methods to woo a predominantly young audience. RDX certainly lacks the technical flair or finesse of these films, but it makes up for it in having a bare-minimum story, which gives the audience the emotional need to root for the three, and in having some pulsating action sequences courtesy the action choreographer duo Anbariv.

But the way the film portrays people from a colony of economically and socially disadvantaged as violent hooligans — with repeated references to their ‘colony’ background and even the portrayal of their area as a danger zone — appears problematic. Much of the action sequences pack a punch, with Neeraj Madhav and his ‘nunchaku’ fights being the standout. Even Mahima Nambiar, who is otherwise relegated to a relatively minor character, gets one short, but effective action scene. Compared to what she does, what Babu Antony (the action hero of the 1990s) gets to do towards the fag end of the film, is rather tame.

Yet it is Vishnu Agasthya, playing the antagonist Paulson, who leaves behind an impactful performance and manages to convince us of him being equal to the combined strength of the three martial arts experts. The repeated use of festivals, which provide the possibility of assembling a large crowd, as the staging ground for ‘mass scenes’ have begun to get repetitive. Although it has to be said that most of them manage to do something distinct with the action sequences.

RDX promises to deliver no-holds barred action and delivers just that, and nothing more.

RDX is currently running in theatres

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