Review - Race: pakka masala action flick

wogma rating: Watch when on TV (?)
quick review:

A couple of not-so-unique yet brilliantly done action sequences and a few breathtaking aerial shots might make you want to watch in the theaters. But the acting, the merry-go-round plot twists, and the dialogues are barely average.

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Wogma Review

No doubt, some of the action sequences and a few of the aerial shots can be enjoyed only on the big screen. But, barring these, there isn't anything spectacular about the execution. In fact, a good many departments are just about mediocre - acting, dialogues, set design. And I am not even talking about less superficial things like character and tension build-up.

The screenplay for Race seems to be in a race with itself at, at least, a couple of levels. (Sorry, the use of "race" was just too irresistible!). At one level, we have one sub-plot waiting to chop into action as soon as the previous one is done. At another, each sequence is trying to outdo the other in terms of "gotcha! You didn’t see that coming now, did ya?"

The narrative was interesting till it maintained the scheme of letting the audience know a little more than the other characters in the movie. Later it becomes the regular "Guess who's the bigger fool?" for the audience too. And in a way, you can take a fair guess at what is coming. If it's not going to be the obvious, it's going to be the opposite of the obvious, so there you go.

The good thing though is that the women too have an actual role in the scheming. Don't worry guys - its Bipasha, Katrina and Sameera - they won't let you down if you are here for the skin show. They are not great at emoting. Anyway the story is more about their devious minds and not their emotions.

You don't really feel for any of the men either. They are all so engrossed in outsmarting the other that they forget to feel deceit or love. There is this one-off expression by Akshaye Khanna that makes you laugh - intentionally, intentionally, so it's alright. It was all too funny, to see the actors complementing each other's acting skills on screen. Just in case no one else did that?The Karamchand-Kitty gig mimicked by Anil Kapoor-Sameera Reddy is rather tedious and so is the monologue by Johnny Lever.

The dialogues do sound very labored. A lot of labor seems to have gone into searching the internet for sms jokes. Then they are laboriously forced into the flow of the story. The one-liners range from adult, as in they are 18 years old, to sexual-innuendo adult.

The action sequences weren't fresh either. The one introducing Saif Ali Khan, and the climax, are executed really well, but there's nothing unique or stunningly creative about them. I absolutely enjoyed some of the aerial shots. Especially, the winding roads (South Africa, supposedly) with the backdrop of the rugged terrain indeed make you feel like whizzing past them. And if it's a Ferrari, who's complaining?

What seemed rather amateurish, especially considering it is a high budget movie, is the art design. Good thing a lot of it was outdoors. From the hospital in South Africa to the tacky signboards that said "Department of Home Affairs" or "Stallion". Even movies on a shoestring budget do better than that. Or this song "Khwab dekhe jhootha mootha" with its ugly pink stars in the background which reminded me of a shabby set in Marigold.

"Pehli nazar" always sounded good and, sans Atif Aslam in your face every 4th second, looks good too. The title song and "zara zara" are foot-tapping numbers. And they do have purpose, you see. They are strategically placed after a twist/turn/roll in the tale. So, the audience can ruminate over the recent events of the story. Another purpose that they dutifully serve, of course, is to promote the movie. And whoever chose the songs that would go into the promos did a great job. Because the songs that didn't make it are really awful - "dekho nashe mein" and "Khwab dekhe jhootha mootha".

Having said all that, I must say there is something about the movie that made it work overall. I don't know exactly what. Because each department has some major flaw or the other. It just maybe that the departments synergized well enough to let it have a general "one-time watch" feel.

Save for a couple of stunts and some of the many aerial shots Race doesn't really warrant a trip to the theaters. If the director duo, were woken up in the middle of the night and asked, "Ultimately, who won the Race?" They are going to be flummoxed. Or maybe not...they might just say, "Dude, WE DID!!!" Because, we, the audience love our cheap thrills and there hasn't been anything glossy around for quite some time. So we will be compelled to flock the box-office. Oh well, so be it.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Race - Movie Details

Race - Trailer

Comments (12)

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Race - Review : NAACHGAANA:

[...] link [...]

Race reviews | DesiPundit:

[...] Meetu likes the action sequences but is also frustrated with the merry-go-round plot twists. [...]

Race at Blogbharti:

[...] like to sum up (this summing up of reactions) this post with a few lines from Meetu’s review: Don’t worry guys - its Bipasha, Katrina and Sameera - they won’t let you down if you [...]

Sudhir Nair:

"boring...monologue by Johnny Lever"

Boy Johny Lever used to be the only redeeming factor of Abbas-Mastan flick..if he was also boring then the movies' a definite No-No for me..

Thanks for saving my money !!

meetu:

Well Sudhir, there were people who absolutely lhuuuuved Johny Lever. It didn't work for me...

>> Thanks for saving my money !!

Anytime!

Beth:

Hee. I found most of it pretty flawed too, and the components didn't quite add up. I guess I was somewhat reasonably entertained; I think I only looked at my watch twice during .... Except for having female characters who DO something and a few glimmers of fun from Saif and Akshaye, this was overall dull for me. What a waste of potential!

Srinath:

Now why do i think its going to be another boring movie with a star cast?

http://thebraveone.co.in/wp/2008/04/01/race-a-revi:

[..] I was warned by Meetu about Race; but I seem to be an incorrigible glutton for punishment and went to see it [..]

meetu:

Oh well, damage done Sudhir! I hope better half enjoyed it at least :)

Sudhir Nair:

Well she loved it..and was cursing the movie analysis of PFCites as well :)

meetu:

oh well, sudhir...One more movie liked by one more person, good for movies!

meetu:

Nirmal - :)

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