wogma rating: Add to that never-watched 'To Watch' list (?)
A bunch of non-actors pull off heists in the remake of The Italian Job. And there are new twists of course! It's an Abbas-Mustan film after all! And yet it is not as bad as the promos look.Read more
Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu, Sonam Kapoor, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Bobby Deol, Sikander Kher - read these names in one breath and you should be looking up for jokes on twitter. I bet you there are some very good ones doing the rounds. Most of them are "stars" but none of them is twinkling too well, right now. So the audience is bound to be skeptical and thus have a laugh or two at the combination's expense.
Add to this mix, the names Abbas-Mastan and you guaranteed to get lots of style and almost equal guarantee of no substance. Pick any promotional video from the lot that is out so far, not one shot is non-stylized. For example, in this supposedly romantic song here, I don't see two people in love or falling in love, I see two gorgeous-looking people trying to oozing style out of every single pore.
I understand Players is a remake of The Italian Job. It might not have been the best film ever, but it was an enjoyable heist thriller. And instinctively, I couldn't help but squirm at the mention of Abbas-Mastan remaking it. Oh well, you cannot complain that they aren't breaking barriers. Just look at them pull down the gender bias at minute 1:10 in the trailer below. A woman perfectly parking a race car at high speed. There's your woman getting a substantial role!
The music has received lukewarm response, or rather it is nothing out of the ordinary for the music director. Pritam. I think we have witnessed the lamest theme song ever for a thriller. But don't miss out on lyrics like, 'This narcissism is a system to intimidate.' Now, isn't that a killer line?
Milliblog - "Pritam does what he’s good at, admirably well, in Players."
Music Aloud - "6.5/10"
Bollyspice - "2.5/5"
Happy Sing - "Players is once again a lovely album from Pritam where he mostly creates what he is an expert at, with one or two new things here and there"
Dunkdaft - " So, a soundtrack with 2-3 nice tracks is not bad,after all, its for an action movie. "
rediff - "2.5/5"
- meeta, a part of the audience
Is Players, The Italian Job? It is. But, it is not. Then it is. And then again, it is not. Because, after all, it is an Abbas-Mustan product. The twists and turns turning into more turns and twists is a given. The lawn tennis that the characters play with their loyalties is also expected. You wonder whether the makers are screening a joke on themselves as the good thief and bad thief mock each other for being predictable. So what if we might not be able to make out which one of the four characters is the mole? We know one of them ought to be, and that is predictable enough, dear directors.
So, there is no sitting on the edge of your seat business. There is no thrilling chase that has you wrapped around itself. But, I must admit, that some of the twists made the plot a little more interesting, even if it was only for a few minutes. Players is also a lot less dramatized than I anticipated. And it is, thankfully, less stylized than the trailers made it out to be. But, that isn't saying too much, is it? I expected it to ooze substance-free form in every frame. So, it's not like you are going to miss the slo-mos nor is there a dearth of pauses after every third word for dramatic effect.
And since that's pretty much intentional, what chance do our actors have to give a decent performance? Not that we have too much hope left from this set of actors. A quick reminder - Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu, Sonam Kapoor, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Bobby Deol, Sikander Kher. It is a shame that I have not a good word to say about even Bachchan Jr. The rest are aging only worse with every film. And boy, did they over-estimate Neil Nitin Mukesh's potential to deliver a non-standard role.
The only reasonable actor in this ensemble is Omi Viadya who is comic-relief incarnate. A couple of one-liners have brilliant timing, and that's all it takes to remember him. The whole theater laughed out loud at a joke which has been done to death on sms/facebook/what-have-you! That's how remarkable Omi is.
But, like any other Abbas-Mustan film, you are guaranteed some exotic locales that are shot beautifully. A slick movie, Players surely is. In fact, they've chosen not so often visited Russia and New Zealand, and have gone as close to the North Pole as a film crew can go too. The sound also contributes in making you feel like you are a part of the action. There were a number of scenes where you can feel your seat pulsing with the beat. Yet, Hindi action thrillers are miles away from their Hollywood counterparts, despite having smart action and camera work. They lack originality. They remain just that - remakes of other films.
The problem also is the directors' strong belief in adding masala to suit the Indian palate. I don't get the insistence on adding song and dance, lackluster at that! Nor do I understand the rationale behind going out of the way to include comedy amidst tense drama. Just because it makes me laugh, it doesn't stop it from becoming a distraction from the flow of the story or a particular scene. And it only adds fidgety minutes to the run-time. One of the things that I like about The Italian Job is that it makes a team out of strangers because they have a common enemy. And fortunately, Players doesn't lose that flavor. Alongside there is a tidbit of romantic undercurrent. It's a good thing that it is kept in its place and there isn't much ado about it. Abbas-Mustan, of course, also add the extra load of twists. Only this time around there is a relatively better attempt at tying loose ends.
Players might work a slight shade better only because the expectations from it are so low. Watchable not must watch, like many other films running on TV.
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Anna Vetticad, annavetticadgoes2themovies : ...I wish it hadn’t lazily glossed over the intricacies of the plots hatched by Charlie Mascarenhas (Abhishek Bachchan) and his troopers. I wish the directors had dumped Pritam’s tuneless songs. I wish some of the acting and dialogues had been better. But the truth is that despite all this, the pace of Players is such that I enjoyed it. ... full review
So-So, by Stefan S, A Nutshell Review : ...Those involving Bipasha Basu worked since the actress is known for being sultry although one can tell of her losing some weight and curves, while Sonam Kapoor seemed to have bulked up a little (for the better rather than being painfully pencil thin) but for her dances to be a little bit awkward when she was supposed to be sensual.... full review
So-So, by Nupur Barua, fullhyd.com : ...The anorexic Sonam Kapoor in revealing clothes and Gothic make-up cannot dance, period. The less said about her insipid role, the better. She is too "Aisha" to be an intellectual hacker. ... full review
So-So, by Divya Solgama, Gomolo.in : ...Abhishek Bachchan has done plenty of films with conning / robbery as its main theme and out here he manages to do a decent job, though the charm of his last film ‘Dum Maro Dum’ is missing.... full review
So-So, by Stutee Ghosh, Planet Bollywood : ...While the actors, dialogue writers, editors and director duo draw flack for their horrid job, the cinematography and the manner in which the Russian landscape has been depicted and a couple of action sequences (although few and far between) hold us to the movie.... full review
So-So, by K K Rai, STARDUST : ...Bobby Deol, who plays the part of a magician and helps the players with his illusionist techniques in the heist, has largely been sidelined in the flick. He hardly gets any scope to showcase his histrionic ability.... full review
Thumbs down, by Naresh Kumar Deoshi, Apun Ka Choice : ...a bunch of non-actors, the esteemed coterie of Abhishek Bachchan, Bipasha Basu, Sonam Kapoor, Bobby Deol and Sikander Kher competing among themselves to see who hams less and fluffs least... full review
Thumbs down, by Yusuf Poonawala, Desi Martini : ...Besides a poor script and dialogue by Rohit Jugraj and Sudip Sharma, their screenplay is the deal breaker. Everything happens for the sake of convenience and too easily. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Ankur Pathak, Desi Martini : ...Players another heist-soup from the now-foreseeable style of director-brothers Abbas-Mustan has such an incompetent narrative, the actors in the motion picture react with an unintentionally true expression: Being Clueless. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Smita, Desi Martini : ...I have not seen that one but can bet my last plunging Rupee that it does not have thieves who give an excuse of setting up an orphanage to rob huge amounts of gold. It is this obstinacy of so many mainstream film makers to stick so closely to the formula that it makes a travesty of even the best plot. A crime thriller based on a moralistic premise is doomed from the start.... full review
Thumbs down, by Mayank Shekhar, Hindustan Times : ......Which is good to know. But you still don’t get the point. Well, hold on then, the banalities have merely begun; you’ll stop questioning soon...... full review
Thumbs down, by Fatema H Kagalwala, India Entertainment : ...The only different thing that catches the attention, sometimes charmingly, mostly embarrassingly is Sonam Kapoor’s experimental grunge look that the lady chose with little care but carries off with flair.... full review
Thumbs down, by Kaveree Bamzai, india today : ... What is Bobby Deol doing in the movie? No time for such existential questions. I was too distracted by Sonam Kapoor's wandering eye makeup and changeable hair.... full review
Thumbs down, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...Even if you haven’t seen the other two films, 'Players’ comes off as a dismal first for Abbas-Mustan, with a flat script, flatter action scenes, and the flattest bunch of actors, all milling about in one film. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Komal Nahta, koimoi : ...Abhishek Bachchan and Bobby Deol, especially, seem to be under the mistaken belief that uttering dialogues in a very sober and serious way, with absolutely no smile or emotion on the face, is akin to good acting. But it only makes them look limited as actors.... full review
Thumbs down, by Karan Anshuman, Mumbai Mirror : ...Good films are about bringing new ideas to viewers, and Players is antithetical in this respect. In the remake, the writers substitute what little logic was there to begin with, with songs and add deliberate cheesiness to make the film more accessible for the masses... full review
Thumbs down, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...The keywords of this plot are simple: grand-scale gold robbery, fellowship of a highly-skilled team, successful execution, traitor in the gang, payback and a Mini Cooper-packed climax. ... full review
Thumbs down, by Sudhish Kamath, The Hindu : ...Abeyaar, what is it to you? Ok, fine, we bought the rights, happy? But for the money we paid, we will remake both Italian Jobs in the same movie even if we just paid for one and set it everywhere but Italy. We will do unmentionable things to it right in front of your eyes and you can't complain we stole a film. ... full review
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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
A bunch of strangers are put together to pull off a heist worth Rs.10,000 crore. All for an altruistic cause, of course. This then turns into a good-at-heart thief versus heartless thief battle. A battle of making fools out of each other.