Action Jackson review: Watching this Ajay Devgn film is like punishing yourself
If there is a plot in Action Jackson, it's buried under a festering pile of ineptitude and fake blood. The lurid colours and jerky camerawork could spark a two and a half hour long epileptic attack.
There are some things that are just not meant to be. Ajay Devgn doing choreography is right on top of that list. So, when Mister Singham teams up with Prabhudheva — yes, that 'h' is not a typo. While Devgn has chosen to drop an essential vowel from his name, the dancing director has opted to add an unnecessary consonant to his — you know there's disaster in store. Action Jackson is precisely that. The only good thing that can be said for Prabhudheva's latest directorial venture is that the font used for the credits is legible.
If there is a plot in Action Jackson, it's buried under a festering pile of ineptitude and fake blood. The lurid colours and jerky camerawork could spark a two and a half hour long epileptic attack. The cacophony that passes for the film's soundtrack can induce migraines. The acting is abysmal. The dialogues are crass. The fight sequences are a mess. The visual effects are shoddy and the editing is so bad, it feels like the film was cut using gardening shears instead of a computer. In short, if anyone would like to sue Action Jackson for damages, they can count on this writer for support. Play this film instead of interrogating terrorists and by the time interval strikes, those being interrogated will tell you every secret they've ever been entrusted with in order to not watch the whole, loathsome package that is Prabhudheva's new film.
Hurtling from Mumbai to Bangkok, Switzerland, New Zealand and a plethora of ghastly sets, Devgn snarls and slices his way through bad guys in Action Jackson. His sidekick is Kunaal Roy Kapur, who spends most of his onscreen time with his eyes squeezed shut, which is how most sensible people would react to Action Jackson. Sonakshi Sinha jiggles various body parts and bats her eyelashes.
Yami Gautam gets beaten up repeatedly. Newcomer Manasvi Mamagai loses her shirt on a regular basis and like all good Bollywood vamps, smokes and behaves like a lunatic. Tamil actor Anandaraj is the villain who, for no fathomable reason, wears a contact lens that looks like a miniature CD stuck on his eyeball.
Puru Raajjumar juts his jaw out and vrooms around Mumbai in a jeep because he's a police officer. Shahid Kapoor makes a cameo appearance in one song, possibly because Prabhudheva needed some respite from the cringe-inducing awfulness that is Devgn dancing. There are potted plants with more grace and a better sense of rhythm than Devgn possesses.
It isn't surprising that the characters the men play in Action Jackson are idiots and that the roles dished out to the actresses are embarrassments. Prabhudheva's films have the worst of '80s' cinema, whether it's in terms of values, (the lack of) logic or the terrible songs. What is amazing is that the director is allowed and encouraged to make these films, teeming as they do with regressive ideas and idiocy. Action Jackson's idea of keeping up with the times is to rip the shirt of Devgn's back at regular intervals so that he can flaunt his muscled body and Mamagai doesn't have to be the only one in the film who is half naked for no reason.
There's just one question that pops up again and again during Action Jackson: why? Why does an educated young woman, who heads the HR department of a company, think that seeing one man's penis — it's Devgn's, naturally — will make her lucky? If she's such a devout believer of lingam worship, surely someone could point her in the direction of the nearest Shiva temple. Why does a woman who is obsessed with a married man say she's decided he can never be hers one second and follow this up with kidnapping his wife and child, trying to kill them and then trying to kill him? Why are we supposed to be awestruck by a kid who asks idiotic questions like, "How many alphabets are there in the English language?" (For future reference, there's just one alphabet. There are 26 letters in that alphabet.) Why does a gangster decide that his posse of henchmen will wear bright orange suits? It's not a colour that allows one to blend into a crowd.
Most importantly, why did anyone put their hard-earned money into this project when director Prabhudheva is quite evidently the worst filmmaker in Bollywood? And that's saying a lot, considering what the popular Hindi film industry churns out on a regular basis. Do yourself and those around you a favour: watch Action Jackson only if you have a free ticket or want to punish yourself. Perhaps if this film doesn't make an obscene amount of money, Prabhudheva will be forced to respect his audience a little.
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