Movie Review: BANG BANG (2014)
After much awaited fanfare, the official Bollywood remake to Tom Cruise-Cameron Diaz starrer KNIGHT & DAY is here. The movie starring Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif has its ups and down, but is intended to be the typical action fluff film which provides enjoyment that doesn’t require too much critical thought and in that regards, BANG BANG definitely lives up to it’s predecessor. This Review won’t be delving too deep into the how’s and why’s of BANG BANG, simply because this is such a movie where the close examination of almost anything will unravel into ridiculous nonsense, so it’s best to leave it all alone and take it for face value.
Blank Page Rating: 2 out of 5 Kohinoor Diamonds
A recently escaped, and very well dressed terrorist (Danny Denzongpa) puts out a reward for the theft of a high profile diamond, the loss of which may cause the alliance between governments of two countries to destabilize, somehow. The incredibly good-looking jewel thief that responds to this reward happens to be Hrithik Roshan’s Rajveer who has his own reasons for the theft, which, as mentioned earlier, need not much analysis. During one of many high-octane chases from bad guys of two different kinds, who happen to be of the same kind, Rajveer accidentally meets Harleen while she is awaiting an Internet blind date. Charismatically forced chemistry ensues, words are exchanged, dances are danced and this action-comedy is finally underway after way too many set ups.
Being associated with Rajveer makes Harleen become the target of everyone looking for him, so to protect her, the rest of the movie is basically a frantic adventure between the two, where Harleen is drugged and dragged around the world, inadvertently fulfilling her desire to travel. Now that’s true love. Kind of. Despite a story that is penned by Sujoy Ghosh and Suresh Nair, BANG BANG really isn’t able to hold one’s interest in anything beyond the lead pair and their, meant to be comedic, but comeing off as irritating, chemistry with one another. There is little substance in the film, but the attempts of adding it by Director Siddharth Anand fails miserably. Various subplots of terrorism, conspiracies, family drama, patriotism and other unnecessary things are jammed into the story, but ultimately weigh down the movie and prevent it from being the mindless entertainer it could’ve been. The best scenes are ones with Roshan and Kaif, playing off of each other’s banter, even though Kaif never really matches Roshan’s natural deliveries.
As charismatic as Roshan is, his performance here seemed as schizophrenic as his character is accused of being. He went back and forth from serious to aloof, initially coming off as a psychopathic goofball, the character’s turn into a serious action hero by the end takes away from what was established in the beginning. Katrina Kaif has made a career out of playing ditzy roles, and she excels at it here as well, but it falls apart when she attempts to be genuine with her emotions. No other movie displays her lack of acting talent as much as BANG BANG where she has to emote, literally on the run and amidst explosions, which presumably only allowed to do minimal takes, thus exposing her ‘skills’.
Another aspect where BANG BANG really fails to live up to the good time romp that it sets itself up as, is with quite possibly unintentional sexism that seems to plague Bollywood films. The movie spends a lot of time focusing on Harleen’s single life, her job and how unfulfilled it all must be since she’s not dating, nor does she have a man. During the film, there are constant jabs at her personality, how interesting or boring she may or may not be… thereby being the reason why she’s single, almost to the point of being offensive to women. It’s an unnecessary angle pursued by the writers, especially given that Sujoy Ghosh was responsible for one of the best female orientated thrillers with KAHAANI.
The lead pair is supported by some pretty veteran actors who, though they do commendable jobs in their own particular roles, are wasted by the capacity that they have within the script. Danny Denzongpa as a brightly dressed all out villain doesn’t really shine as much as one would expect. The Dennis Hopper of Bollywood is given very little to do, despite an outstanding introduction. Javed Jaffrey reprises his role from various other movies as cool guy 2nd villain, and contributes nothing with his character. While the genre of romantic action-comedies may be new to Bollywood, making BANG BANG quite a success, over all the film offers nothing to an international audience beyond an overcomplicated script, and a story that almost makes it as a popcorn blockbuster.