Director: Deven Bhojani
Cast: Vidyut Jammwal, Adah Sharma, Freddy Daruwala, Esha Gupta, Adil Hussain, Sumit Gulati
Commando 2 is a brain-dead extravaganza that proves John Abraham is the only ‘legitimate’ action star in Hindi cinema. And he isn’t even in this film. Perhaps his greatest advantage is that he can’t act. To his credit, he doesn’t even try. You expect his face to be remarkably consistent and asexual across all situations: from daughter/wife/random little girl’s deaths to romancing femme fatales. He fits the old-school definition of thick-voiced trees filling in as one-man-army heroes – sort of a mannequin version of exotic Hollywood superstars (Bruce Willis, Jean Claude Van Damme, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger) who’ve made a career out maintaining their expressionlessness across a variety of muscled stunts.
Vidyut Jammwal, unfortunately, doesn’t look haggard enough, and is an unfortunate combination of Tiger Shroff and The Undertaker. He speaks way too much for a guy who shouldn’t be putting together coherent sentences on screen.
The good thing about these hulks is that entire hard-boiled backstories can be devised around their tone-dead turns: they’re usually cold, numb killing machines and incapable of human behavior because of a ‘tragic past’. The writers then do what they are paid to do to justify Katrina Kaif’s accent (cue NRI-from-London flashback).
Vidyut Jammwal, unfortunately, doesn’t look haggard enough, and is an unfortunate combination of Tiger Shroff and The Undertaker. He speaks way too much for a guy who shouldn’t be putting together coherent sentences on screen. He is an awfully fit man with clearly a lot of physical training, but isn’t “dead” enough to make our minds empathize with his robotic ways. He doesn’t even have a suave villain (someone like Tahir Raj Bhasin) to carry his kindergarten performance. And to be fair, starring in a graceless plot that appears to have been written more by the propaganda-spewing government than a filmmaker won’t go down as one of his glorious career highlights. Deven Bhojani, the director, is a familiar television and stage face; you’ll best remember him from his debut as Sanju’s chubby friend in Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander.
Commando 2 begins with an expository montage that would like to have us believe that demonetization is making the rich run scared. They turn to one single villain, a banker chap named Vicky Chaddha, to ‘manage’ their money (INR 1 lakh crore, as mentioned repeatedly) into one single account abroad. Somehow, this economics-for-dummies, glorified radio PSA then conveys that only if this fellow is transported from Malaysia to Tihar Jail can all of India’s impoverished farmers get INR 15 lakh each and never commit suicide again. The noble-looking PM instructs a special-ops team to do the needful while using the word ‘trust’ and ‘citizens’ way too often in the same sentence, with an ambiguous home minister (Shefali Shah) running her own game to protect her corrupt son.
The team comprises of light-eyed super-cop dude (Freddy Daruwala; previously seen in the equally ludicrous Holiday: A Soldier Never Sleeps), patriotic Muslim hacker (Sumit Gulati), South Indian encounter specialist (Adah Sharma, failing gloriously to do a Deepika-from-Chennai-Express caricature) and Vidyut-Man himself. Adah is introduced as a tight-uniform-wearing specialist who loves shopping, perfumes and getting turned on by the smoke from a gun.
I’ve endured some positively terrible action flicks like Rocky Handsome and Baaghi in recent times, but this one takes the cake for not even trying to be inane.
What follows is an outrageously dumb tale of twists, deceit, fake identities, Esha Gupta, redundant political posturing and the art of passing off WWE moves as new martial arts techniques.
I’ve endured some positively terrible action flicks like Rocky Handsome and Baaghi in recent times, but this one takes the cake for not even trying to be inane. It constantly spells out alphabet-level subplots with the smug aura of somebody explaining the technicalities NASA’s latest space program. Even the hand-to-hand combat is tired, uninspired and full of techno moves that only a first-time director can sanction.
Producer Vipul Amrutlal Shah (whose name explains the bewildering presence of otherwise-fine actress-wife Shefali Shah) is incidentally the man behind the Force franchise, Holiday as well as the ‘prequel’ to this one. He seems relentlessly determined to resurrect the dying genre, when all he is really doing is burying it deeper into its derivative grave. He can start by stop believing that his balloon-ish protagonists need a personality – or even a face. He can take a leaf out of James Cameron’s Terminator book. Cyborgs are indeed the future, and the future can’t come soon enough. Perhaps the next film he produces will be worse than this, making us believe that perhaps Jammwal wasn’t so bad a trunk after all.