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Hrithik Roshan is believable as a brilliant international jewel thief — but a slack Katrina Kaif lends little to the proceedings — in Bang Bang!, the official Fox Bollywood remake of its 2010 Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz film Knight and Day.
Director Siddharth Anand (Bachna Ae Haseeno) and screenwriters Sujoy Ghosh and Suresh Nair, working from Patrick O’Neill’s original story, put a global Indian spin on the action movie.
Opening the film in a record 245 theaters in North America and on Imax screens across India, Fox Star Studios has high expectations; the violent Bollywood actioner is up against the more prestigious Haider and is bound to dominate a holiday weekend traditionally kicked off by non-violent Mahatma Gandhi’s Oct. 2 birthday.
Roshan has a multitude of charms, including fierce dancing talent, bright green eyes and a killer physique, but try as he might, he doesn’t match Cruise’s energy in the original. Here, he’s on the run against some flamboyant baddies, including Hamid Gul (Jaaved Jaffrey), a ludicrously tattooed criminal, and his even more lethal boss, Omar (Danny Denzongpa). Seems the fabled Kohinoor diamond has gone missing from the Tower of London, and a web of corrupt Indian officials and villains will do anything to recover it.
Even the sillier action films out there attempt to follow some kind of logic, but this one has sequences that begin in a Prague casino, move to a Phuket villa and back to Prague in the same scene. Blaring music, slow-mo fist fights and endless car chases go on and on — and wasn’t it just last week that Denzel Washington walked away from the exact same explosion?
Roshan is supposedly the first Bollywood actor to use a Flyboard water jetpack in an action sequence, evading bad guys in an ocean shootout. In another scene, he expertly maneuvers an Formula One race car through the streets of Abu Dhabi.
Kaif spins around on Roshan’s motorcycle to shoot at pursuers, and Roshan sprints between two approaching trains, in some of the scenes designed to be exact copies of Bang Bang!’s Hollywood counterpart. But the director has explained the film is not meant to be identical, especially considering that he has to fill almost an hour of extra running time.
What do viewers get for that additional investment of time? More flipped-over cars, more speeches from its hammy villains, and more bickering between the two leads. If it wasn’t for Roshan’s awe-inspiring dance performances (be sure to hang on until the title track at the end), one could easily write off the film altogether.
By the end of Bang Bang!, one is left to contemplate the idea that there is little point in circling the world at the risk of great physical danger — simply for the sake of somebody else’s shiny rock.
Opened Oct. 2, 2014 (Fox Star Studios)
Production company: Fox Star Studios
Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Katrina Kaif, Jimmy Shergill, Danny Denzongpa, Jaaved Jaffrey
Director: Siddharth Anand
Screenwriters: Sujoy Ghosh, Suresh Nair
Executive producer: Sheel Nimbalkar
Director of photography: Vikas Sivaraman
Production designer: Dipankar Dasgupta
Music: Vishal Dadlani, Shekhar Ravjiani, Salim Sulaiman
Editor: Akiv Ali
Casting: Aadore Mukherjee, Mehra
Unrated, 156 minutes
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