Carrying on from the original Race released back in 2008 which had two brothers crossing, double-crossing and triple-crossing each other with the assistance of their fine ladyfriends, Ranveer Singh (Saif Ali Khan) returns in this sequel, in a complicated relationship of frenemosity with criminal tycoon Armaan Malik (John Abraham), Armaan’s half-sister Alina (Deepika Padukone) and his girlfriend (Jacqueline Fernandez). Ranveer becomes friends and business pals with Armaan, he wins the heart of Alina and party is on everybody’s mind.
But all is not what it seems. And just when you think you know what’s happening, you discover you’re wrong. For all is not what it seems. Again.
Like its predecessor, Race 2 is filled with more twists than a jalebi junction, and it is sometimes difficult to comprehend how some of them come about. Thrillers are all about mystery and twists that you don’t see coming, but after the first three unexpected turns, we have no doubts that more are on their way. We can never truly believe what is happening on screen, and towards the end of the film this effort simply becomes exhausting. And we twist, we twist, we twist…
The film is all style and no substance but it is fair to say that filmmakers Abbas-Mustan were never aiming for the intellectual masses with this. However, there was definitely more empathy for the characters in the first film. As silly as it was, we saw Ranveer sacrifice his relationship with his girlfriend for his brother and rooted for him to succeed when double-crossed. In the sequel, there is hardly anything to empathise with at all, with all the characters playing one-dimensional hot bods only looking out for one thing – themselves. It can be argued that Ranveer’s intentions are understandable, but you wonder what kind of twisted love he is trying to avenge with hopping from one girl to another.
Though the characters are wooden, this is no fault of the actors, who do the best they can of the material that they have been given. The two exceptions to this case would be Anil Kapoor, who returns as fruit-loving accomplice RD, and his bimbo secretary Cherry, played by Amisha Patel, who steps in as Sameera Reddy’s replacement from the first film. They serve no purpose at all, other than to appeal to randy Indian men who get their kicks from low-brow sex jokes. If the comedy was funny, this would be forgivable, but some of the dialogue feels as if it’s been lifted from a 90s David Dhawan film. Unfortunately, poor Amisha gets the brunt of this, having been seriously miscast for Cherry – she’s just too cute to come off as a sex symbol.
As Bollywood would have it – forget the script, the cast and locations look amazing. Capturing the beauty of Istanbul and Antalya, this is as great an advertisement from the Turkish Tourism Board as they come. The made-for-MTV songs by Pritam are toe-tappingly awesome, and the background score by Salim-Sulaiman is also highly effective if often overpowering. But the greatest sin is in the handling of the action scenes. Most of it comes off as highly implausible, superhuman feats, and convenient object-placing. For established action-directors like Abbas-Mustan, this was quite disappointing. And forgetting the twists, the biggest mystery of all is how a film with an estimated budget of 87 crores did its special effects for explosions on iMovie. In the first half, there is also an overuse of slow-motion, as if we can’t already tell how good looking the actors are. Without the effect, the film could have possibly had the same duration as a western film.
Overall, it was mildly entertaining and is acceptable for a Saturday night leave-your-dhimaag-at-home kind of outing. But you shouldn’t lose any sleep if you miss it at the cinema. Watch only if you don’t have access to Indian music channels.