Force 2 popped up on Netflix a little bit ago and I thought “why not?” Well, there is a reason why not! This is not a good movie! It took one good thing from the first movie (John Abraham’s character), and then grafted on a bunch of things that weren’t good at all. And therefore, as punishment for the filmmakers (Bad filmmakers! Bad!), they don’t get a real review! They just get a little mini one. But full of SPOILERS! So if you liked Force and are kind of curious about Force 2 but not enough to watch it, you should just read this.
The John Abraham character really is great, both in this film and in the first one. He’s this calm focused and driven person, and you can see that in everything he does, from the way he is in a fight to the way he sits on an airplane. The movie comes alive when it focuses just on him.
But then it switches to focusing on other stuff and I DON’T CARE! I couldn’t follow most of the plot, and didn’t feel like trying too hard. Sonakshi’s character was super unlikeable, the whole spy plan never really made sense, and even Budapest didn’t look very interesting. Which was the whole reason I was watching it! Budapest, I mean. I like Budapest, I’ve been there, it’s kind of a cool looking city, and very individual. It looks great in Sultan and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (and I Spy, if you ever feel like watching a silly American comedy). But in this movie, it’s just sort of bleh. Anonymous hotel rooms and bars, with a few establishing shots, doesn’t really have that Hungarian feel I was looking for. Even the big diplomatic speech at the end was in English instead of Hungarian. Although that is kind of reasonable because, as I was told by many many people while in Hungary, Hungarian is one of the most difficult languages to learn since it is related to nothing else.
(See? Is this Budapest or Prague or Istanbul or any other of those random cities films shoot in? Who knows!)
In a real review I’d go on and on about more themes and stuff. But this film didn’t earn a “real” review, so I am going to skip straight into the SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
Force ends brilliantly. John Abraham has survived everything which has killed all his teams and his friends and the brightest part of his life, his new wife. What’s kind of fascinating is that he is healthier (while delusional) at the end of the film than at the beginning. In the beginning, his work was his life, he was afraid to make any other connections. But then Genelia worked at him and wore him down and he let her in. Now she is dead, but the changes she brought about are still there. He is getting dressed for the day, and as he looks at himself in the mirror, he turns around to see imaginary-Genelia sitting on the couch giving him a thumbs up. It’s crazy, but it’s also healthier than his “totally shut off from outside emotions” beginning as a character.
(I love this song, how she dances through the desert of his life)
The first time we see John in this movie picks up right there. He is confronting a gang of criminals, the hit him with a wooden board, sending a nail through his shoulder, and he barely reacts. He pulls of his shirt (Thank you John! You know why we came) and wraps it around his fists and then fights them all. And then we cut to him carefully pulling out the nail and bandaging himself up in the mirror. He finishes and says “you can open your eyes now”, and the camera reveals Genelia sitting on the couch with her hand over her eyes. He asks if he looks okay, she gives the thumbs up, and then the doorbell rings and the camera pans away, and back to an empty couch.
Great opening for his character! He is even more driven then before, but he is keeping up his little game of imagining Genelia there with him to give him happiness and strength. I want to see where this goes! I want him to have a department psych exam and lose his badge, or start imagining her at fight scenes and getting distracted, or heck, even falling in love with her doppelganger Vertigo-style! Let’s have more about John Abraham-The Mentally Damaged Supercop!
But no. Instead we get some stupid spy story that doesn’t even make sense. I suspect the reason this movie feels so grafted together is that it is grafted together. Someone had a fairly decent script about spies and counterspies. And they decide to put John’s character from Force in as the hero and make it a sequel, even though it wasn’t supposed to be connected at all.
The real opening of the movie isn’t this great sequence with John. It’s some guy in faux-Budapest being followed and then ducking into a bookstore and mailing a book. I couldn’t really understand this bit, I only put it together later, that he was being followed and all. Which is on the director, he should make these things clearer to the audience. Which is funny, because it looks like the director works on 24: India, so you’d think he’d have plenty of practice with chase scenes and such. Maybe it works differently on TV? With shorter run times and such?
(Also, Anil Kapoor as a gritty seen it all government agent just kind of cracks me up)
And then John gets the book, and manages to crack the “code” of it, by doing some really basic stuff like picking the first letter of every word. To figure out it says “Budapest”. Ooooo! I’m so impressed (not!).
And then there was a bit I didn’t fully understand where somehow John figured out that his old friend was both dead, and a spy, and then took his findings to RAW and ended up in the office of Sonakshi Sinha. I’m not going to worry about not understanding that bit, because it was just place setting. The director/script wanted to get to the classy educated rich RAW lady working with the focused street-smart and brutal Bombay cop. But there was nothing really interesting along the way.
Essentially, this “odd couple” is exactly the same as the one at the center of Jurassic World. Which the same issues in terms of frigid helpless female stereotypes and all that. But setting that part of it aside, Jurassic World actually did a good job of coming up with reasons for them to be thrown together, and made the setting up of all that kind of interesting. In this movie, I have literally no memory of anything that happened between John reading BUDAPEST, and showing up at Sonakshi’s office.
And then I continued to have occasional amnesia for all of the bits that involved the spy part and investigation. I perked up at the action scenes, those were fun. And I perked up a little at the John and Sonakshi interactions, but I tended to zone out again if it got too much into Sonakshi’s backstory.
So, here is what I got from the rest of the movie. For some reason, RAW decides to send John and Sonakshi together to Budapest to try to track down the mole who is in the Hungarian embassy and sending identities of RAW agents to China. Sonakshi pays for her own upgrade and travels first class. And is also all about reading background info etc. etc. John squeezes into 3rd class and looks grumpy. They go to stay at a safe house, John senses it is rigged and saves them both. Which shows that his “gut” is better than Sonakshi’s research. This continues to be proved over and over again, including when John goes out on the town and easily makes friends with all the embassy employees in one night and picks out his target. Really?
Meanwhile, Sonakshi has used her boring paperwork to pick out a different target and set up a sting. It seems to work, but at the last minute of course John’s “gut” comes through and he spots his target in the distance watching through a telephoto lens. So it really was the other guy.
Run run run, chase chase chase, this goes on for a while. And in a series of sequences, they catch him, they lose him, they catch him again, and so on. We are supposed to be interested even though it is repetitive for 4 reasons:
- Great fight sequences every time John catches up with him
- John and Sonakshi’s growing closeness and chemistry
- Sonakshi has some kind of damage in her past that she has to overcome.
- The mystery of the target’s real motivation
Only item 1 on that list worked for me. There weren’t just good fight sequences, the way John moved through them, all precise and unstoppable, worked with his character as well. Every time a fight scene would come on, I would perk up.
John and Sonakshi, on the other hand, had like the opposite of chemistry. I was going to say it was the equivalent of Taapsee and Akshay in Baby, but no, it was worse than that! Akshay and Taapsee had absolutely no romantic chemistry, which was good for their characters. But I still believed in them as longtime co-workers and work friends. John and Sonakshi didn’t even have that. John’s focus and her frigid affect ended up combining to a total negative. Again, look at the first one! The key was having this incredibly warm and happy energy in Genelia to balance John’s lack of emotion. Now we’ve just got two emotionless people failing to interact.
I suppose if I followed Sonakshi’s backstory I might have cared more? But no, it’s the other way round! If I cared more, I would have followed her backstory. But I didn’t care, and therefore her whole “I’m afraid to shoot because of emotional damage and emotionally frigid because of Daddy issues!” thing didn’t work.
(Her character is so boring, they didn’t even include this song in the film. Or, even worse, they did include it and I got so bored I didn’t notice)
And finally, the actual motivation and deeper meaning of the spy plot, BOR-RING! I paid attention briefly when Boman Irani appeared onscreen, but otherwise, I don’t care! Turns out, the guy they were chasing wasn’t a traitor for money or any of that. His father (Boman Irani) worked for RAW for 30 years, and then was captured and killed. But that’s not what bothers him, what bothers him is that afterwards RAW dis-avowed him by saying he was a traitor.
That is so strange! Why would they do that? Why not just deny that he was a spy entirely and stick with his cover story as a simple businessman? You call him a traitor, you just make your country look bad for having traitors in it. And make his family suspicious, where previously they might have bought the cover story.
Because of this stupid stupid illogical policy, our villain’s mother kills herself and he dedicates his life to revenge. I also find it kind of hilarious that all we knew about him from his past life is that he lived in America and possibly did something with computers. I guess computer engineers who get the American job are considered so special and important, that the audience just accepts their ability to hack into government databases and jump off roofs and do everything else!
At the end of the film, John has realized that our villain wants to assassinate the government minister who disavowed his father, and the only way to both stop the assassination and figure out who in the crowd is the villain is if Sonakshi shoots the minister instead. Wait, what? That makes NO SENSE! She’s got like a handgun, and is just getting over a case of the jitters, how is she supposed to hit him at that distance, and be sure to hit him non-fatally?
Awesome action scene where John starts running through various assassins after Sonakshi takes the shot, and Sonakshi kicks one guy. Because a woman who is a trained and experience RAW agent < some computer guy from America.
In the end, John shoots our villain instead of letting him stand trial because he has the names of 17 RAW agents in his head. Huh? It’s not like he can magically send them out of his head. Can’t you just keep him in custody and learn the names of like 50 Chinese agents he presumably knows? And not let him talk to anyone who could get the info of the other 17 out?
Oh, and then John holds the gun on the minister until the minister agrees to redeem the other disgraced RAW agents (including the villains father and John’s friend). Double huh? So, this really is a policy just based on whim? There is no understandable deeper reason for it? That’s SO STUPID!!!!
Our final scene brings Genelia back, so I care again. John and Sonakshi are watching the minister on TV and Genelia pops up next to John and sort of nods towards Sonakshi and indicates that she approves. Well I don’t! This one moment of ghost Genelia has more chemistry and excitement than the whole movie of Sonakshi and John together! Blech! For the threequel (if there is one), Bring Back the Ghost!!!!
(And then this is over the end credits and I don’t understand why)