Movie Review: ‘Action Jackson’; Director: Prabhu Dheva; Cast: Ajay Devgn, Sonakshi Sinha, Yami Gautam, Kunaal Roy Kapur, Anantharaj, Manasvi Mamgai
Dancer, choreographer and actor Prabhu Dheva’s fifth directorial venture in Hindi, ‘Action Jackson’, is the kind of sickeningly shoddy film that should never have seen the light of day.
With its ear-splitting background score, warped sense of humour, brainlessly outlandish situations and excessive violence, it is an unrelenting assault on the senses.
‘Action Jackson’ is a loud, inane offering that mixes over-the-top action with crass comedy in a way that is unlikely to pass muster even with the movie-going constituency that it is primarily targeted at.
Thrown into the deep end, lead actor Ajay Devgn struggles to stay afloat in this welter of meaningless flourishes that only serve to repeatedly underline the film’s paucity of ideas.
Devgn sheds his police uniform but continues to cling on to his Singham persona, with clearly diminishing returns.
In the absence of a coherent screenplay, his frayed-at-the-edges double act is hopelessly ineffectual.
The star plays a small-time Mumbai goon who, in the company of a gawky sidekick (Kunaal Roy Kapur), rules his little turf unopposed.
When he isn’t lending a helping hand to those in need, he is pursued by a down-on-luck girl (Sonakshi Sinha) who believes that he can change her destiny.
The hard-drinking hoodlum scurries for cover from the unwanted attention. But the persistent lady forces the man to eventually give in to her heavy-handed wooing.
Halfway through ‘Action Jackson’, it is revealed that this guy has a lookalike, a shadowy underworld creature who is infinitely more brutal and far tougher than him.
The emergence of this second protagonist, the Action Jackson of the title, messes things up for the friendly neighbourhood law-breaker, upping the stakes beyond the latter’s comfort zone.
The narrative is a baffling jumble and it becomes difficult at times to keep track of what is unfolding on the screen.
The second half of the film is far messier than the first, driven as it is by the mystifying depredations of a flashy Bangkok mafia don (Tamil actor Anantharaj in his first Bollywood role) and his vicious sister (debutante Manasvi Mamgai).
The latter is in love with the hero, her brother’s right hand man, and decides that she will stop at nothing to compel him to do her bidding despite discovering that the latter has a wife (Yami Gautam) he dotes on.
The action sequences in ‘Action Jackson’ are staged without much imagination or a genuine sense of style and the frenetic song and dance set pieces are a blur.
The film’s dialogues are risibly amateurish, and the writer does not seem to be able to decide if he wants Devgn to sound like Salman or Akshay or to simply recycle his Singham lines.
The one-liners that the male protagonist delivers in ‘Action Jackson’ are shockingly corny. “Na commitment, na appointment, only punishment,” he thunders when he corners a bad guy. If that is meant to be a dig at Salman Khan, it doesn’t quite hit home.
On several other occasions, he lets his adversaries know that “it is my way or the skyway”. It matters little to the writer of this film what these lines really mean.
The acting is hammy all the way. With Devgn hogging the spotlight, Sonakshi and Yami aren’t called upon to do much except sing and dance.
Kunaal Roy Kapur is the worst served: he is reduced to a nonentity who hangs around just to be slapped and pummeled by all and sundry.