So tired, so late, and yet I am staying up just a little bit longer so I can bring you my first review. And therefore be able to sleep a little later tomorrow morning, comfortably aware that I already have a new post up.
It’s a full moon tonight, which means people are loony. I discovered this wasn’t just a superstition back when I was working at a movie theater. Full moon nights were nights when things would happen like the dignified older man telling us the story of how he saw a Vampire on the bus that morning (punchline: “she stole that baby’s soul, and the baby didn’t even know it”).
What that meant tonight was that we got to the movie theater to find the entire parking lot full for the first time ever, and the lobby mobbed. We bought our tickets and were told the showings were backed up, so we had to join the massive confused line of people. We finally got in and sat down, and the middle-aged man sitting a few seats away promptly picked a fight with the group of young men sitting behind him. Which ended with the middle-aged man beating a hasty retreat when he discovered these weren’t the kind of young men to say “sorry Uncle, we won’t do it again” and more the type to say “you’re gonna throw us out? Fine, let’s do this right now, let’s see you throw us out”.
(Appropriate that they chose to watch this movie, Tiger has a very “let’s do this” attitude through out)
And then the movie didn’t start for another 15 minutes after we were seated. When it did (half an hour after the scheduled time), they fastforwarded through the ads and stuff, and then just played it. Everything was fine for a little over an hour, and then the screen suddenly went blank in the middle of a scene. The lights didn’t turn on or anything, we just sat there in the dark for 5 minutes waiting for it to start up again. And then it finally did. And we finished the movie, went out to the parking lot, and somehow managed to screech out through the mob of cars and get home.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because so long as the movie was playing, everything was fine. Even during the bit when it turned off in the middle, everyone was in a cheerful enough mood that it didn’t matter. There were whistles and applause and hoots and laughs, it wasn’t a solemn respectful kind of crowd, but it was an entertained crowd, a happy crowd, a relaxed crowd.
This isn’t a good movie. It combines the plot of the Telugu Kshanam with some random bits of Rambo that both don’t make sense and are deeply insulting to Vietnam Vets out of context. Disha is almost unwatchably bad, the action scenes are good so long as they are hand to hand but get boring once the explosions start, the songs are inserted almost at random, and the plot loses any slight grip on reality or logic during the sudden switch from Kshanam to Rambo.
(Why? Why any of this?)
Tiger is good. It is my curse that I have seen all but one of the Tiger Shroff films. So I can tell you, in my overly informed opinion, that this is his best performance so far. And probably the best role for him. I could happily see Tiger play this same kind of strong action hero surrounded by off-beat character actors (Manoj Bajpai is predictably brilliant here) and a weak heroine in film after film. There aren’t enough straight up action heroes in Hindi film, we could do with more. And Tiger, in this movie, manages to resist his urge to cheesy smiles and fake laughs, and instead sticks with fight scenes and simple dialogue and a stone face. He’s still not a good actor, and this isn’t a good role or a good character, or any of that. But Tiger does his little bit to making it work, and it does work. It’s a very entertaining movie.
There’s a difference between the movies that work best in close contemplation, alone, viewing them streaming or on DVD or playing on television, and movies that work best as part of a crowd at the theater. The ideal film combines both, but too often lately movies seem to veer more towards the second than the first. This film, I will never need to watch again, but it was a wonderful theater experience. The magic of the movie somehow pulling us together and pulling us into happiness and out of lunacy.