Being always in search of new tricks of fooling the typical Indian moviegoers, certain oversmart Bollywood filmmakers have started the franchisee business. If one movie succeeds on the box office, these clever guys convert the title of that movie into a brand. The Bhatt Camp as well as Rohit Shetty has done it by making movies of the same title by adding the next number (2 or 3) to it even when the story of the so-called sequel has nothing to do with the original movie (because it’s a brand name sir, it need not be a real sequel). However, Farhan Akhtar made a genuine sequel of Don (2006) with Don 2 (2011) and then Abbas Mustan came up with the sequel of Race (2008) which can be called a sequel simply because some characters of Race have been carried over in it, else the story of Race 2 (2013) has nothing to do with its so-called prequel.In Race, the hero Ranveer (Saif Ali Khan) has to checkmate the moves of his greedy and wicked half-brother – Rajiv (Akshaye Khanna) and finally, with the help of a corrupt cop – Robert D’Costa (Anil Kapoor), he is able to usurp the money at stake, arrange the death of his brother (and his female accomplice played by Katrina Kaif) and move ahead in life with his sweetheart – Sonia (Bipasha Basu).
In Race 2, the characters of Ranveer and Robert D’Costa are repeated and it starts with the killing of Sonia. Now we come across some new characters which are – a crooked and money-minded casino-owner – Armaan Mallik (John Abraham), his half-sister – Elena (Deepika Padukone) and his sweetheart – Omisha (Jacqueline Fernandez). And also a new assistant of Robert D’Costa (who says that he has left his job and started freelancing) – Cherry (Amisha Patel). A very very greedy and utterly dishonest Armaan is approached by Ranveer and he first arranges such a deal that Armaan is able to usurp five profit-making casinos of another casino-owner – Vikram Thapar (Rajesh Khattar) in order to win his trust and thereafter backstab him (because of his hand in Sonia’s murder). The game of checks and checkmates between the protagonist (Ranveer) and the antagonist (Armaan) continues till the end of Race 2 in which only one could be the winner and the other had to be a loser only.
Director duo – Abbas Mustan consider themselves as Alfred Hitchcock of Indian cinema. Earlier they used to make thrillers with some logic and some emotional quotient as well plus some healthy comedy. Khiladi (1992) and Soldier (1998) are good examples of that. However with 36 China Town (2006), they started keeping style, glamour and lavishness above everything else. Race, though a good suspense thriller mainly because of a well-written screenplay, was by no means some great movie though some reviewers consider it a classic. Still Race was appealing because it was not all style, it had substance too. Race 2 lags far behind on this count, it’s all style and very little, indeed very very little, substance. The directors have defied logic throughout and relied on style and thrilling action sequences only. The movie is lavish – yachts, planes, big games in casinos, big bets in races and people talking of millions and billions so easily that the spectator immediately gets a feel that this can not be the real world.
Race 2 entertains but not upto expectations. Hence if someone who was highly impressed by Race, watches Race 2 with a high expectation, he may find himself as betrayed, quite in the way many characters of the movie find themselves as betrayed by the other ones in the story. Since Race was based on a double cross drama with almost everybody double crossing someone else, Race 2 also follows suit. But these double crossings are just too many, too predictable and too unreliable to endure. And the characters are shown as thirsty of money, sex and blood; nothing else. Frankly, as in their previous venture – Players (2012), Abbas Mustan seemed to be double crossing their audience, in Race 2 also they appear to be doing the same job; taking their audience for a ride. I still remember Soldier (1998) which was though lavish and stylish, had a well-knitted and logical story and the climax was appealing too. Can’t Abbas Mustan make such movies now?
The USP of this movie is style and action only. The way YRF banner’s Ek Tha Tiger (2012) was good just for the sake of some breathtaking action-sequences, the same way this movie may also impress the lovers of high octane action. The script is lacklustre and the reason for the killing of Sonia is also not made clear till the very climax (perhaps because the writer himself did not know that reason and something was to be imposed anyway). What Armaan was going to do with the stolen item after betraying Ranveer is not clear because there was no buyer for that (his financier – Aditya Pancholi was nowhere shown as the prospective buyer). Moreover, Elena murders a person (because he denied her the permission to open casinos in his state) so coolly in an ongoing party that I recalled the title of Agatha Christie’s novel –‘Murder Is Easy’. Yes, it’s easy only because thereafter neither anything happens to her, nor is she shown as answerable to any agency for that. Cheating is done in card games so easily that after watching it, the gamblers (of card games) may think twice before entering into any such game. The script renders a feeling to the viewers that the filmmakers consider them as damn fools.
If lavishness is the synonym for technical superiority, then this movie is technically good. Money seems to be flowing like a perennial water-stream from the very first frame to the very last frame. I did not try to keep remember the names of the countries the narrative meandered through, that’s now the trend in such movies. So what’s new ? The heist sequences in this movie are by no means any match for the highly impressive heist sequence of Players.
Performance wise talking, the performances are only as good as the characters are. Since only the characters of Saif Ali Khan and John Abraham are well-sketched, they only have performed impressively. Anil Kapoor has done well but his role is superfluous and devoid of any impact in the story. The females are here for skin-show only and now the Hindi movie heroines don’t appear to think even for a single moment to enter the bed of ANY male (Amisha Patel is shown as too eager from her own side to enter Anil’s bed), perhaps that’s the woman-lib which is being propagated by the contemporary (such) movies. The most disgusting character is that of Amisha Patel. It’s really pitiable to see the heroine of blockbusters like Kaho Na Pyar Hai and Gadar to fall to this level in her career.
Music by Preetam is noisy and its only plus point is its foot-tapping capability. In comparison to that, the music of Race was far superior and memorable. It’s better to listen to those many years old songs instead of listening to the songs of this movie. Background score is in line with the script.
Race 2 is a one time watch for those who like action-thrillers and who do not mind getting double crossed by the filmmakers in the name of showing double crossing by the characters of the story. After watching Don 2 first and Race 2 thereafter, one thing becomes pretty clear to me that the message being conveyed to the Indian youths (fond of dreaming to make it big in the real world) is that crime pays and it pays much more than the honest living. That’s a fatal lesson being freely taught to the already crime-ridden Indian society. But who cares ?
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