Cast: Ajay Devgn, Sonakshi Sinha, Yami Gautam
Action Jackson is essentially an item number in search of a story. The first half of the film is disconnected sequences of action, comedy and romance randomly strung together. And when the plot finally kicks in, it is so fantastically ridiculous that you have to ask — what have we — enthusiastic, loyal, passionate lovers of Hindi cinema — done to deserve this?
The film is a showcase for Ajay Devgn, who lords over every frame. As AJ, the right-hand man of a dreaded mafia don in Bangkok, Ajay struts and postures, mostly shirtless. Reams of newsprint has already been expended on how Ajay achieved the necessary ripples in his body for the film — we were told that, at one point, the actor did not drink water for five days because he wanted to get the perfect taut look. That’s admirable, but I wondered: how did this twotime National Award-winning actor make sense of the cartoonish script? What was going through his mind when he stepped in front of the camera and said lines such as: ‘It’s my way or the skyway’ and ‘ Na commitment, na appointment, only punishment.’
There are many such baffling things in Action Jackson, but for me, one of the big mysteries was: why did the bald, one-eyed mafia don dress all his sidekicks in identical orange suits? Who in his vast criminal empire, decided on that unique, summery look? Alas, we will never know.
AJ is a man so lethally sexy that a woman who is kidnapped and about to be raped starts lusting for him, even as he kills her kidnappers and rescues her. As AJ slices and dices, she ogles at him and the soundtrack croons something like, “AJ, AJ, I’m burning for you, AJ”. Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up.
She snorts cocaine, slits her wrists and becomes the psycho suitor from hell. Meanwhile, the other two women in the film also worship Ajay. Sonakshi Sinha sees him half-naked in a changing room and is besotted. Poor Yami Gautam doesn’t even get a narrative flourish like that — her job is to just keep getting beaten up so he can keep rescuing her. I think the sword that AJ uses with such dexterity gets more respect than the women in this film. At one point, our hero looks at one of these ladies and thinks: “Yeh toh Mercedes hai yaar, ek baar toh test drive karni padegi”.
AJ is a gleeful misogynist — in the song ‘You’re my gangster baby’, he actually kicks a woman who is already prostrating at his feet. Action Jackson is regressive, loud, purposefully crass and just plain dumb. For reasons unknown, director Prabhudheva insists on adding digital effects to every frame. So your head hurts from the stupidity on display, your eyes ache from the contortions onscreen, and your ears aren’t safe either — the soundtrack is an assault that just doesn’t let up.
When the action moves to Bangkok, the background music helpfully informs us: Bangkok, Bangkok.
I’ve seen plenty of bad films this year but Action Jackson raises the bar on awful. I’m sure I’ve lost a few brain cells with this one. I request you to stay at home — I have suffered it so you don’t have to.