wogma rating: Add to that never-watched 'To Watch' list (?)
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.Read more
NOT A REVIEW (just my thoughts before the release)
Race has got its audience hooked with its slick promos and peppy music. Even its romantic number "pehli nazar" has a certain lilt about it that has everyone from the radio jockeys to my 6 year-old son humming it.
Unfortunately, however, there is no interesting information other than the synopsis and character sketches floating around the net. The 7.4MB press-kit (Downloads) on the official web-site too is geared more towards people who are interested in ogling at the extremely good-looking cast. Of course, we do have a write-up on the director duo and the producers, but nothing new on the movie. Anyway, here's hoping that the movie is more than just the cast looking good.
- meeta, a part of the audience
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
Thumbs down, by Sreeram Ramachandran, M TV : ...kind of jokes that would leave a second standard kid ostracized and without any friends had he tried narrating them to his fellow 7 year olds... full review
Thumbs down, by Raja Sen, Rediff : ...Akshaye Khanna has the film's main role, and while his smirk and his shrug manage a couple of lines alright, this really isn't a performance to talk about.... full review
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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
Ranveer Singh (Saif Ali Khan) is a shrewd businessman who runs a stud farm and bets on races. Rajeev Singh (Akshaye Khanna) is his alcoholic brother who is basically a good-for-nothing. As fate would have it, problems come their way, and they find a unique way to resolve them.