By Monica Arora
Film: The Black Money Trail: Commando 2
Director: Deven Bhojani
Cast: Vidyut Jammwal, Esha Gupta and Adah Sharma
Corrupt politicians: Check!
Black money laundering businessmen: Check!
Corrupt police officer: Check!
Corrupt police officer turning around to become the one with ‘heart of gold’: Check!
One-man fighter army to rid the world of all baddies: Check!
Hare-brained villain: Check!
Foreign locations: Check!
That in a nutshell is the story of ‘The Black Money Trail: Commando 2’!
Commencing with the relevant de-monetisationissue that has plagued the majority of Indians ever since it was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 8 November, the movie is a typical Bollywood cat and mouse chase between the Commando, played by VidyutJammwal and the villain, whose identity I do not wish to reveal as that is the only so-called twist around Intermission point.
The lesser that is said about the lead trio’s acting skills, the better. Vidyut Jamwal is all body and no soul; Esha Gupta is as wooden and mannequin-like in skimpy, figure hugging outfits and stilletoes akin to her last outing in Rustom,whilst Adah Sharmah is just there for comic relief with a jarring Hyderabadi, wannabe English-speaking accent that she is muchbetter in scenes where she stays mum.
The track is a one-line plot with the Indian government tracking a huge black money trail linked to a person who has been traced in connection with several of the biggest money laundering deals in the recent past. Of course, the son of the Home Minister played by ShefaliShah as a cameo is also amongst the culprits and eventually it boils down to a two hour-three minute long mindless journey to catch the baddies, get the money details and then get rid of them in order to save the name of all the “biggies” involved. Cut to Vidyut ‘Commando’ Jamwal who wants to nab the baddies and the corrupt policemen and politicians involved. Yawn!
But all is not lost yet! Shot in Taiwan and Malaysia, the movie has been edited quite crisply by Amitabh Shukla and Sanjay Sharma and has very decent production value under the Vipul Amritlal Shah banner. The supporting cast comprising of Freddy Daruwalah as the tough, corrupt cop Bakhtawar; Zafar, the website hacker played by Sumit Gulati; AdilSharma as the Special Forces Director and Satish Kaushik as the corrupt businessman are very well cast and enacted. In fact, I felt that they were better than the lead trio! The plot and story by Ritesh Shah is like a flying kite: it is about to get a grip when it suddenly goes into a lull and is let loose in the second half, which is perhaps the undoing of this very average movie.
The only part that keeps the viewer invested are the action sequences choreographed by none other than the leading man VidyutJammwal and Franz Spilhaus. The opening sequence, a flambouyant introductory set piece, no doubt “borrowed or inspired” from several Taiwanese and Korean films is gripping and so are the chase sequences and set fights that keep on regularly emerging throughout the movie and keep viewers invested when they are busy checking their SMSs and FB postsin an otherwise insipid scenario.
Engaging in bits and pieces owing to its slick action and mediocre plot, the movie works only in parts and could have been better and far more crisper had someone paid a little more attention to the screenplay. It will certainly do well in the ‘B and C’ grade centres, the audience that is intended for but overall it is very average and will be soon forgotten.
My Verdict: **