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Rocky Handsome: John's Action Show Reel

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MUMBAI: Self-aggrandizement is what John Abraham’s Rocky Handsome is all about. From the title to all that John attempts on screen reads like a screen test video of an aspiring action hero. But, then, he is the producer of this film. The story of this remake of the South Korean film,The Man From Nowhere, has a cause that has been tried and tested since the birth of the revenge formula;. And sadly, it has also been done to death over many decades. That the hero is well capable of and trained in combat is a concept that has been worn down to shreds. American vigilante films, Sylvester Stallone films and numerous others have left no novelty value in the theme. Closer home, we have had many films like Vipul Shah’s Commando: A One Man Army (2013) in which actor Vidyut Jamwal in the lead as an ex-army man taking on a local mafia somewhere in North India is so similar.

John Abraham is the man from nowhere who has landed up in Goa where he runs a pawnshop. Goa being a combination of backpacking tourists and drugs, a pawnshop is a lucrative business to run, because it is not long before these tourists go broke and feed their needs by pawning their ware.

A victim of the drug mafia is John’s neighbor, a woman who is always high, and pays scant attention to her daughter, Baby Divya. Here, the script and direction start their blundering ways. As if Goa was a one lane township, the whole of Goa, her school and neighbors shun this girl. Why? Because she is a drug addict’s daughter and indulges in small time thefts to cater to her needs. However, she gets along well with John who, despite not showing any outwardly emotions towards her, is fond of her.

John keeps visiting his past in flashbacks, after all, that is his purpose to propel this film. It seems he was once in love with Shruti Haasan. They honeymoon in Seychelles and, not surprisingly, she comes back pregnant, much to the delight of the duo. John enters a hospital to collect reports when an out of control truck rams into the car in which Shruti waits for him. The killers are, of course, the criminal mafia. But, why? John has had nothing to do with them so far. Are they inviting him to annihilate them?

John arrives in Goa but shows no indication that he is seeking revenge in this revenge saga. He carries on with his pawnshop with a deadpan expression which is rather convenient for him since his repertoire of expressions is very limited. Doing an expressionless Robert Mitchum helps in such cases.

Finally, after wasting half an hour, the villains get bored of John’s lethargy and come visiting him. They kidnap both, Divya and her mother. This is an invitation for John to become the mean killing machine that he has been trained as, trained to kill like Stallone was in First Blood! He is an ex CIA or whatever, you are never sure, because the makers are not sure either!

John the producer and the scriptwriter of this film if it has one, and the director Nishikant Kamath, borrow a scene or a sequence from all the action films ever made so far. In the process, they get grossly mixed up and mess up the final product.

John, what you are doing in this film is long passé! It can’t be sold with such a poor script and poorer direction! What is even worse is that the director, Kamath, uses this venture to launch his acting career as the villain in chief! Towards this end, he casts all musclemen around him, but looks like a pygmy himself. Now, what kind of villain would he make? John wants to re-launch his career, while Kamat wants to hike a ride.

All in all, what accounts for Rocky Handsome is poor script, poor to the hilt direction and casting. And what was the reason to make all villains into wannabe comedians, lunatics? Watched too much of Superhero film villains? This is the saddest film about everything in wrong hands. The cast is full of unknown Marathi stage TV actors. They act like zombies.

With just about every aspect of the film being poor, mindless, the film closes an avenue that was open to John, that of turning producer now that the acting film assignments are not forthcoming anymore.

Rocky Handsome has scant appeal for family and the high end multiplex audience. Today being a public holiday,it may benefit a bit at B rung plexes and single screens but is poor viewing on the whole.

Producer: John Abraham, Sunir Khetarpal.

Director: Nishikant Kamat.

Cast: John Abraham, Shruti Haasan, Nishikant Kamat, Sharad Kelkar, Nathalia Kaur, Baby Diya Chalwad.

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