Agent Vinod aka Agent Speedy Gonzalez zooms so fast around the globe that if you looked on your watch to see how long this movie is going to be you lost track of two continents… I had to take a bathroom break so I missed another three and good part of the plot. If you thought Kahaani was moving you too fast through Calcutta, that was Kindergarten. They prepped us in Kahaani, I realized, for the pace of this movie.
I regretted through the first half not sitting further in the back of the theater. I keep forgetting that this is preferred seating in the action movie genre. If you sit too close have advils handy.
Having said that, getting it out of my way, I liked our Vinod. He is different from the Bond characters, who are kissed by entitlement and different from the earthy type Matt Damons.
Agent Vinod is not a man you will fall in love with, easily, he looks more like a well-trained Navy Seal who storms through the movie dressed like an office clerk. No big laughs in this BW action-thriller, with the exception of one come-on scene with a male stewardess and one where our Navy Seal pretends to be gay for the duration of a short taxi ride.
I loved the beginning of the movie, although it was an unapologetic combo of Spy Game and Once Upon A Time in the West, the famous scene with the harmonica. Not so effectively used here but evoking a sweet memory of Sergio Leone’s masterwork, a tribute of sorts.
So the movie starts somewhere in Afghanistan (or where was it) and then zigzags around the globe, the mission staying in the dark until the very end almost but numerical clues dropped throughout the first half of the movie, until you almost don’t care anymore what 242 means and the sound of it starts looking ridiculous. That’s when the mystery gets revealed.
But I am talking here as if I didn’t like the movie. I did! I thought it was elegantly done, very stylish, with hints of film noir elements transcribed in color. Great action scenes. Fantastic locations. Saif pounces on his role with a meat hammer. He means business and has a short attention span. We never get to see him relaxed once. A man on the mission.That he shares with Western espionage figures but Saif makes his Vinod look very hardcore realistic and the unraveling plot supports it. It touches upon a raw nerve when we think of the scenario and we walk out of the movie theater slightly more concerned than we walked in.
Kareena looks hotter than ever with a little bit of flesh.. So hot indeed that when Saif proposes to her we have to believe he means business this time around. But then, given what happens next to her character, snaps. Maybe not :-)
Supporting cast members were wonderfully chosen, I thought. Some great characters. then again, not so well developed because of the pace of the movie. Btw, outstanding performance by the camel. short but highly effective scene. We get a lot of memorable moments here and for that reason I would see the movie again.
Personally, I think they should have done more editing, cutting out more of the unessential, and one or two songs, that didn’t really contribute.
Altogether though, bravo, Sriram Raghavan, creating a wonderful legacy after Ek Hasina Thi and Johnny Gaddaar, this was a really good story. Well-told and well-acted.