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Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Anil Kapoor, John Abraham, Deepika Padukone, Jacqueline Fernandez, Ameesha Patel
Running time: 144 min
In 2008, the Tauranis and Abbas-Mustan groups delivered a taut thriller in Race. The intricate plot, the serpentine twists and turns of the narrative, the good-looking men and women double-crossing each other, the dazzling locations and the adrenalin-pumping stunts and chases left an indelible impression on the moviegoer.
The success of the film fuelled rumours that a sequel was on the cards and directors Abbas and Mustan Burmawalla had to come up with the next instalment, carrying the franchise forward.
The second film, as a result, comes with weighty baggage. It has to outshine the first film in terms of content, look and canvas, and most significantly, it ought to outdistance Race at the box office. So, is the follow-up worthy fare, or is it merely capitalising on a popular brand?
Let me state at the outset that Race 2 does not entirely meet the elevated expectations. Abbas-Mustan and screenwriter Shiraz Ahmed have put together a movie that is stylish and engaging, with an international look and feel. The first hour is dedicated to the vengeance aspect, while the latter half focuses on the heist, which drags the film down.
Race 2 starts from where its predecessor concluded. Ranveer (Saif Ali Khan) decides to avenge the death of his fiancée Sonia (Bipasha Basu) and to do that he travels to Turkey, where he encounters some new people (John Abraham, Deepika Padukone, Jacqueline Fernandez, Ameesha Patel), besides some folk he crossed paths with earlier (Anil Kapoor).
Race 2 takes off with a bang. Literally. The chase that ensues soon after the blast, the introduction of the key players, the sub-plots, the volatile games, the twists and turns…
Abbas-Mustan and Ahmed are on the right track for the first hour. Everyone seems to be a double-crosser; the men are crooks and the women devious. Also, Abbas-Mustan make sure they astonish you at every step. The twists and turns keep you captivated. There’s hardly a dull moment in this hour.
The post-interval portions start with gusto, but the writing isn’t foolproof. A few episodes are electrifying, but the director duo and writer should have packed a solid punch in this hour, especially in the concluding act.
The finale, inside the aircraft, should have been spellbinding. Yet it evokes mixed feelings. The backstory between Sonia and Malik (Abraham) is missing. Why? Additionally, the Kapoor-Patel track doesn’t work. One doesn’t mind double entendres, but some of the lines are in poor taste.
The soundtrack is lilting, though I wish to add that the first movie had better music. The background score (by Salim and Sulaiman Merchant) is exhilarating. The action/chase sequences are top notch, with every stunt looking well-choreographed.
Like the first film, the characters in Race 2 have grey shades. Khan plays the elegant guy with poise, while Abraham acts his part with gusto. As a matter of fact, Saif and he lend so much zing to their respective parts that it’s difficult to decide who is better.
Padukone has the best scenes in the film. She looks stunning and immerses herself in her character completely.
Fernandez looks gorgeous too, but her character is sidelined after a point. Kapoor’s and Patel’s parts appear forced.
On the whole, Race 2 has a rocking first half; glam and glitz, great looking men and women, spectacular locales, extravagant movie making, hot action and, of course, a solid brand that’s going to bring moviegoers flocking to cinemas initially.
But the film lacks sustaining power thanks to its uneven second half. The writing isn’t watertight, the film lacks a hit score, the climax is far from effective and overall, Race 2 pales in comparison with Race. bollywoodhungama.com