War is a slick Hrithik Roshan-Tiger Shroff action show, that needs more substance
It seems like director Sidharth Anand had channelled all of War's energy into Hrithik, Tiger and the action sequences. Nothing else.
Tiger Shroff and Hrithik Roshan's War is a big spectacle film, expected to make mega bucks at the box office. And why should it not? War has two bonafide stars in Hrithik Roshan, a quintessential big screen idol, and the young favourite, Tiger Shroff. War also sees Tiger and Hrithik dancing together on the big screen, an espionage-inspired plot, grand action scenes and the YRF banner. So suffice to say that the stakes are high, especially after the failure of YRF's previous big event film, Thugs of Hindostan.
Here's a quick lowdown on the premise.
Kabir (Hrithik Roshan) and Khalid (Tiger Shroff) are mentor and mentee in an Indian intelligence agency (they don't establish if it's RAW). The film opens with Kabir going rogue — as is established in the trailer as well. He's the starboy of the agency but has wavered and is on a killing spree, targeting important members of the agency and the Indian military. Khalid, who has always looked up to Kabir as a mentor, has been tasked with finding Kabir and arresting him, before he goes too far. A major part of the first half of the film, then, goes into a flashback, establishing how Kabir and Khalid first met and how they formed a relationship. They fight together, they spar, they bring down terrorists and they also dance together (because Bollywood?).
Both Tiger and Hrithik are in their element in War, and give us no reason to complain as audiences. But an outlandish plot and loud, over the top acting comes in the way. There is a spark of comedy between the two as well, but it isn't explored much.
There are multiple action pieces peppered through this flashback, and many moments for both Hrithik and Tiger to shine – whether it is high octane chase sequences or dance moves. Hrithik Roshan owns his swag and his age. He shows off his salt and pepper look and wrinkles. This is a side of Hrithik we've never seen before and it is most welcome. Tiger, on the other hand, is an earnest performer and is easy to like.
Wish I could say the same about the story of the film, which so far is a huge let down. It seems like director Sidharth Anand had channelled all of the film's energy into Hrithik, Tiger and the action sequences. Nothing else. And the biggest proof of this is that Vaani Kapoor turns up only in the second half of the film.
Vaani plays Naina, a dancer, who meets Kabir while he's on a mission. Surprise, surprise: she quickly becomes the emotional/moral centre of the film (with merely 10 minutes screen time). One can't help but feel shortchanged on her behalf. She has a tiny role, but there's a lot more she could have done had the film not been so obsessed with its lead pair.
This obsession leads to a much more contrived plot in the second half, filled with forced twists and shockers. If you pay mild attention to the plot, you can see the big twist coming by a mile. As the film progresses, the need to surprise the audience gets more and more evident. Hrithik's natural charm and Tiger's hard work can only pull the film so far. And for a couple of minutes you almost buy into the far-fetchedness of War because it's a good looking film. The cinematography, the background score and the luxurious production design all make you want to believe that you're a part of a huge spectacle.
But for the most part War is all action, no talk.
Thank god for Tiger and Hrithik, who make the film mildly watchable. The stakes get higher in the second half, so the action sequences are more impressive. War is no Mission: Impossible, but credit where credit is due. War promises action, swag and bromance, and you get that in abundance. Just don't expect a seamless, smart film.
This is a first impression review of War. Read our critic Anna Vetticad's movie review here.
Watch the trailer here:
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