Kaithi is lightning in a bottle: a case study in careful, deliberate plot construction that explodes into a full-blown action bonanza. Kaithi’s premise and its treatment make it the most suspenseful entry on this list.
Watching Vikram is like witnessing an exhilarating poker match. Lokesh Kanagaraj keeps his cards close to his chest, as the film appears to be an investigation procedural about an obsessive agent’s (Faahad Faasil) search for three masked murderers.
Trust Kamal Haasan to take what appears to be material for a generic spy action film and transform it into a philosophical exploration of terrorism, humanity, guilt and duty. The film is supremely entertaining, and the brilliantly choreographed fight scenes do not impede the film's complex narrative.
We witness a very subdued Rajnikanth as he essays Kabali, a gangster who stands up for the rights of Tamilians in Malaysia. Watching the actor in this avatar is interesting, even if the result isn’t entirely satisfactory. The film comes into its own whenever Rajni lets loose and goes berserk
Director AR Murugadoss's first collaboration with Vijay is an action thriller for the ages. Thuppaki is something of a rarity in the canon of big stars-led commercial cinema: a film that embraces all the tropes of the masala genre while respecting the intelligence of its audience.
In what is quite possibly Vetri Maaran’s most ambitious film to date, Vada Chennai chronicles the story of Anbu (Dhanush), a carrom player who gets sucked into the world of crime amidst an ongoing war between two rival gangsters. The film is the equivalent of an epic novel compressed into a series of brilliantly stitched-together episodic moments.
A movie that ushered in a crop of new filmmakers in Tamil cinema, Karthik Subaraj’s Jigarthanda is a refreshingly original gangster action comedy that succeeds due to a knockout cast and novel treatment by the director.