Enemy movie review: Vishal and Arya keep locking horns in this trite action drama, but we don't care why

For a film that is mounted on a rivalry, the equation between the two lead characters is pretty shallow and one-dimensional.

Ashameera Aiyappan November 05, 2021 12:58:56 IST

2/5

Language: Tamil

In the final few minutes of Anand Shankar’s Enemy, Chozhan (Vishal) asks his son about his desires. The boy thinks for a second and then says something close “ I want to fight like Batman, be funny like Shin Chan, and act like Kick Buttowski… etc”. It made me wonder if this eclectic combination was the actual inspiration for Enemy.

Starring Vishal and Arya in lead roles, Anand Shankar's Enemy is a trite, formulaic action drama that laughs at logic and people who expect the same.

Chozhan (Vishal) has a dull childhood, thanks to his ‘Risk Ramalingam’ (Thambi Ramaiah). For Ramalingam, everything is a risk. And this meant that Chozhan had to stick fastidiously to his ‘home-school-home’ routine. Enter Rajiv (Arya) and his father Paari (Prakash Raj), who move to Ooty and become Chozhan’s neighbours. Paari, an ex-CBI officer, decides that his son should become a police officer, and trains him for the same. Chozhan, who is intrigued by what Rajiv does, eventually joins him. Chozhan turns out to be better than Rajiv is, much to the latter’s jealousy. But one day, Pari gets killed. To avoid complications for his family, Ramalingam moves to Singapore. The frenemies grow apart only to meet under very different circumstances 25 years later.

There are a lot of questions you might get watching Enemy. The answer always is: He is the hero. For example, Chozhan runs a supermarket. How did he get the necessary equipment to break into a building Mission Impossible style? Answer: Chozhan is the hero, he can do anything! He can get planes to wait for him like it is a bus. He can get cranes to come from nowhere. How did Chozhan find out about Rajiv’s personal life, something the latter has hidden from the entire world? In this universe, police are mere gun dispensaries for both Chozhan and Rajiv. But obviously, one should not question all this. It is the experience that 70 years of Tamizh cinema has trained us for.

This makes it obvious that women will not have much to do in the film.

For a film that is mounted on a rivalry, the equation between Chozhan and Rajiv is pretty shallow and one-dimensional.

And Rajiv, like any other villain in Tamil cinema, oscillates between being the best to the daft.One minute, he is the Interpol-wanted assassin. Another minute, he is squabbling with Chozhan over the Five Star chocolates he lost to him in their childhood. To Arya’s credit, he holds this character better than its writing does.

Not that the rest of the film is better. The emotional beats are all over the place. Major decisions are thrown at us with little to no context. There is a Chinese enemy. There is a lot of talk about Tamil makkal and community. None of this leads anywhere. The writing is so clunky that information keeps getting repeated. In this film, it is even okay for a dead man to blink in the background because, hey... look how shiny and sleek our film looks!

A running gag in the film is how Ramalingam reacts to 'risky situations.' He is so averse to risk that he breaks a coconut by putting it into a bag. This way, the shards cannot hurt him. And I kept wondering what he would have said if someone had asked him to watch Enemy. The Tamil Nadu government recently increased theatre occupancy to 100 percent. The entire city of Chennai is covered with smog like never before. Nevertheless, the riskier thing to do would be to watch Enemy with expectations of logic.

Enemy is available in cinemas.
 
Rating: **

Ashameera Aiyappan is a film journalist who writes about Indian cinema with a focus on South Indian films.

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