RACE 2 Review: Let the Race to Steal the Shroud of Turin Begin

Indian Bollywood Hindi Movie RACE 2 (2013) Poster Wallpaper

Kolkata, Jan 27, 2013 (Washington Bangla Radio) If ‘Race’ (2008) ran through a cross country track full of twists, turns and deception to achieve success, ‘Race 2’ runs almost the same track but with more twists.

‘Race 2’, directed by the duo of Abbas Mastan, is a true sequel of the deception thriller. The sequel revives the two lead characters and actors from the first movie - Robert D'Costa (Anil Kapoor) and Ranvir Singh (Saif Ali Khan). Bipasha Basu appears as Sonia in a cameo.

The film opens with a sniper shooting a bullet straight into the fuel tank of a car. The timeline then goes back a few days and reveals dreaded international mafia don Armaan Malik (John Abraham) had awarded the contract to kill. Anil Kapoor’s voice over introduces Armaan Malik and his half sister Aliena (Deepika Padukone) who are riding the high life on yachts, trophy cars and money powered by their crime syndicates.

Enter Ranvir Singh who approaches Robert D'Costa with a plan which can earn them millions. Ex-cop D'Costa organizes horse races and knows Malik for years. Ranvir reaches Malik through D'Costa and makes an impression by correctly predicting winning horses, and later surprisers Armaan and Aliena by losing a card game (fixed of course). Ranvir also seizes five casinos from a guy known as R.K. and hands them over to Armaan. Ranvir also flirts with Armaan’s girlfriend (Jacqueline Fernandes) which energizes Aliena who has fallen in love with him. After winning the trust and faith of Armaan, Ranvir reveals his master plan of stealing the historic shroud of Turin from the heavily guarded Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin. Considerable double-crossing, mind games, swapping sides and twists occur on the way to the climax which reveals why Ranvir Singh chose Arman to share the plan with and where all the plans and unplanned twists leads to.

Just like the first part of the franchise, romantic equations seem ever-changing and difficult to guess. Even the love of the siblings Armaan and Aliena takes unexpected turns. There are more similarities with the previous film. The rising-from-dead or rather ‘I was never dead’ instrument has been used again, though with a bit more polish and in a better setup, to bring in a savior at the last possible minute. The plot is familiar to viewers of Race, but this is  revenge drama and what the revenge is for is revealed at the end of the film. That factor does keeps the audience in their seats till the end. But still the plot feels incomplete, and one or two pieces of the jigsaw are missing and a couple others do not fall into place.

The dialogues are better this time. Kiran Kotrial may have made them interesting with dialogues like ‘Revenges are best served cold’ but that can hardly do better to ‘a plot already sold’.

Saif Ali Khan plays Ranvir Singh with excellent body language, not an easy job given the numerous shades his character has to portray. John Abraham retains the negative attitude from his films ‘Dhoom’ and ‘New York’. He looks well as a rich and ruthless don and and better in action sequences which were specially designed for him. The two leading ladies Jacqueline and Deepika add the oomph factor with some highly enjoyable fickle romance. One wonders what changes more often - their costumes or their allegiance. However, Jacqueline clearly needs to understand that moving and mouthing dialogues is not what is called professional acting. Deepika is getting better as an actress and does well after ‘Cocktail’ pulling off another not-so-sweet role. There is clear indication her insipid acting in many films early in her career are going to be a history soon. While Anil Kapoor passes with an ‘OK’ remark, Amsiha Patel's character Cherry misses the mark. Her attempts at comic relief mainly results in audience relief when her scenes close.

There are quite a few good things to watch for in Race 2. The locations and costumes are bewitching. Rarely high-flying lifestyle has been shown in a better way in a Bollywood movie. Ravi Yadav may very well be nominated for the Best Cinematographer in this year’s Filmfare Awards. Anaita Shroff as the costume designer gets full marks. Her use of fluorescent and solid colors adds the right hue to the characters.

The songs of Race 2 are enjoyable but they will stay a foot behind those of the first edition. The choreography again reminds us of the previous film.

Race 2 may not be a darling of the critics but can be accepted as a regular entertainer with a higher budget. Not a movie to watch with ones’s lover, one should try to catch the movie with a group to clap and boo together. Race 2 offers enough opportunity for doing both.

Watch Race 2 Hindi movie trailer.

- By Jyoti Prakash Mandal (jpmandal@washingtonbanglaradio.com)