Cast: John Abraham, Sharad Kelkar, Nishikant Kamat, Shruti Hassan
Direction: Nishikant Kamat
After Nishikant Kamat’s last film ‘Drishyam’, I had thought that he would impress us with a robust action film. Alas, ‘Rocky Handsome’ is a huge letdown.
Kamat wants to do a ‘Bourne’ but in trying to play to the gallery he ruins it all. Our lean mean killing machine (John Abraham) completely looks his part but behaves like a typical Bollywood hero. By repeatedly showing how traumatic his past has been, the director blunts his aggressive edge.
John Abraham’s one-and-a-half expression has often been criticized in the past. And this is the kind of film where exactly that might have come in handy – a ruthless assassin is like a programmed machine. Instead of cashing in on that, we make him scream and cry and emote in vain.
The film spends way too much of the first half on setting the scene. And that’s because there are just too many things that need to be explained. Not only is there a protagonist living a dual life, desperate to find an abducted eight-year-old girl, we also have a drug cartel, an illegal organ-harvesting gang and even a child trafficking mafia added to the mix. I guess picking up a gang that deals with only one criminal activity would have been just too simplistic.
There are too many elements in this plot and too much detailing that just drags the pace of the narrative. What should have been an edge-of-the-seat action thriller is instead a long-drawn bloody saga.
It doesn’t help that guns and knives are just not enough for the warring factions, they also need axes and harmers to make the combat explicitly gory. So, it’s never just a bullet or a fist-fight, the knives have to lacerate the wound several times, the head has to be hammered relentlessly, we have to see the blood ooze out of the orifice. You are never spared the graphic details. It’s as if our director was seduced by bloodlust.
By Bollywood standards it’s not really a long film but the bloodbath seems to stretch on forever.
It doesn’t help that all the villains in this film seem like mere caricatures and their portrayals border on the cringe-worthy.
Since mobs and gangs are involved, the makers have liberally inserted unnecessary item songs, where cleavage-show, gyrating hips and wild hippies are aplenty.
If only our director could have focused on what he thought was most relevant to the plot and told that story, the end product would not have been such a massacre. It’s like he had the material for three action films and decided to put them all into one.
I would have loved to see an edgy action flick but the only dishy thing about ‘Rocky Handsome’ is John flexing his muscles and methodically beating the bad guys into a pulp.