Monday, February 20, 2012

Ghost Rider Spirit of Vengeance: Movie review

Ghost Rider (video game)Image via WikipediaI was always a comic book fan, with a special liking for the superhero. Hence the no-brainer decision to sit through Ghost Rider : Spirit of Vengeance, the celluloid adaption of one of Marvel's lesser known creations. A great super hero movie somehow re-affirms all those hours spent during childhood, hiding away comic books under the blanket and reading them with a torch light, braving swift and severe parental cummupance. At the very least it is supposed suspend your belief and involve you for its duration, and at its best make you want you tear open your shirt and fly out of the window screaming "up up and away!" However, Ghost Rider 2 is not one of those great super hero movies. In fact it isn't even a good one. The story is weak and convenient, the characters are poorly etched and feeble and the superhero looks so bored and detached that you almost end up rooting for bad guy. Nicholas Cage as Johnny Blaze continues to confound with his choice of roles... and wigs :-), and while the supporting cast try hard to salvage this snooze-a-thon with some spirited hamming, they fail completely with the possible exception of Idris Elba. Twenty minutes into the film and you know you've made a big boo-boo with your ticket purchase. Even the CGI is uneven, and appears amateurish amidst the quality that we are now used to and the action set pieces, the last defense, fails to save the day. I suppose the USD60m budget must have been limiting.

If you still want to know what this film is about, here goes. Our hero is hiding out in a remote part of Europe when he is found and asked to save a boy who is destined to take over the powers of the Devil unless the ritual is stopped in time. The incentive being the end to the curse of the Rider. So he teams up with the kid's mother, bikes up, kicks some ass and does his job. However, after getting his curse lifted and returning to mortal-dom, Johnny has second thoughts when the boy is yet again kidnapped by the Devil. Quite obviously, our hero still has some good in him and he rushes in despite his lack of any fire power and manages to save the day, sending Beelzebub back to Hell. Oh, along the way the curse is reinstated and he retains his fearsome powers.


I sincerely hope the Ghost never rides again. I do live in fear.


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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Agneepath: Movie review

Revenge is a dish best served cold and debutante director Karan Malhotra serves up an offering straight from the freezer in his reworking of the 90s cult original. Well, at least for the first 90 minutes anyway, wherein the film plays out like a taught gangster film worthy of the RGV stable. You then wish that RGV actually directed the rest of it, because, thereafter, it descends into mindless melodrama and culminates in an extremely poorly etched climax.

While it would be unfair to compare this to the original, one can say with certainty that the KJo redux does hold its own as an independent film, with its heart in the right place. There are many faults that the film carries - the needless length, the caricature like main antagonist Kancha Cheena, the unnecessary song and dance sequences and the rather sub par soundtrack.

But what really lifts this film are the intense performances from the principal cast. Hrithik Roshan, with his understated and simmering turn as the vengeful Vijay Dinanath Chauhan steals the acting honors here and is closely followed by the ever dependable Rishi Kapoor who does what will probably be an award-winning turn as the Mumbai gang lord Rauf Lala, a new character introduced in this version. Agneepath loyalists will see him a sort of combined embodiment of Tereline, Usman and Shetty and what a worthy embodiment he is, managing the difficult task of being both evil and human at the same time. Sanjay Dutt as the Bhagwad Gita spewing Kancha is a bit over the top. Priyanka Chopra has precious little to do and Om Puri as Commissioner Gaitonde is adequate. The film pays homage to the cinema of the 80s and 90s and is in a way a break from the obsequious urban yuppie cinema we see today and in being so is a clutter-breaker. While it may not satisfy the groupies of the original, it is worth a watch.