wogma rating: The keen should rent; else TV/online (?)
Slick action, chiselled heroes, stunning locations make up for the uneven writing. Yep, the story is part-clever and part-amusing, making it a guilty-pleasure kind-of-a-watch.Read more
Naming a film that is slated for a release on Gandhi Jayanti, “War”, is a little out there for my sensibilities. But, a film named, “Peace” or “Non-violence” would have been cliched. So, yes I am already amused.
That aside, the production seems slick, just like its gorgeously aging male lead. The usual “good vs evil” theme in such action films has a nice teacher-student angle. Seeing Hrithik Roshan play the villain is refreshing too, even if we can almost be sure that that’s not how it will stay till the end.
So, let’s just expect a comfortably predictable fare, sit back and enjoy the best we can? Well, one can always walk in with the those intentions.
War releases on 2 October 2019.
- meeta, a part of the audience
It’s a win for an espionage film if it is written half-well, especially a Hindi one. War is victorious on that count. The much shorter first-half scores because it passes by quickly and doesn’t feel like it was over an hour long. The longer second half has a lot more going on story-wise to keep you hooked. And this is despite some seriously patchy writing.
Roshan too has begun to merge suave with facial expression. Body language is still a-coming.
It does help that the makers have picked gorgeous locations and have spent on well on production. The cinematography and the editing work hand-in-hand to grip you with their combination alone. There isn’t a lot of gimmickry, but one odd point-of-view shot, a couple of unexpected pans of exotic cities entice you into expecting more. The background music takes some time to settle. It begins by being loud and jarring, but by the second half, it sews itself into the fabric of the film, especially in the fight sequences. Of course, you should be warned that I cannot have enough lyrical action choreography when it is fused with well-picked background music.
You can tell that a lot of serious effort has gone into the action choreography itself. While some of it is amusing, none of it is outright boring. The actual choreography, as in the dance choreography is of course breathtakingly executed by the lead men. But, it is also amusingly inserted in the narrative—much like films from the 90s. Though War also roughly attempts to make it meaningful to the story, à la the action Hindi films from the 80s.
The film has some unexpected details too, but the writing is otherwise ordinary. When have you, for instance, seen a hero give away that he is out of breath after a long fight? There are only a few such instances, though. Many of the twists and turns are predictable. But, because a couple of them, in the beginning, are not expected, the film holds your attention.
So, the writing is smart, but in fits and starts. Hence, you have the hero one step ahead of the villain and the villain one step ahead of the hero, which is reasonably challenging to write. But, you also have spies giving away how they fooled the enemy because they wanted to smugly show how smart they were. Is that smart story-writing though, when the spy could have reused the trick?
Similarly, the emotional tugs are written in conveniently. And no, I am not talking about the one between the lead male character, Kabir (Hrithik Roshan) and the supposedly-lead lady character, Naina (Vaani Kapoor). In fact, other than the fact that the lead lady barely gets any space on the screen, that bit is written cleverly. However, the emotional tug for Khalid (Tiger Shroff) to be in the army or that between him and Kabir (Hrithik Roshan) is awkwardly written.
Also convenient are larger plot points like who the writers pick to be the mole. Even the over-arching deception that the villain uses to keep the enemy clueless is more force-fitted writing than creative writing. On the other hand, the answer to the film’s million-dollar question, “Why did Kabir go rogue?” is partly predictable. But, there is more to it than meets the eye, and the subtlety is satisfying.
Many of the twists and turns are predictable. But, because a couple of them, in the beginning, are not expected, the film holds your attention.
And then again, there are questions that beat you like given the reality, why wouldn’t a mole access sensitive information while his treachery was still undiscovered? And the million-dollar question I had, remained unanswered, “Who funded Kabir’s roguery?” To counter that though you have children talking like children. Oh-oh, and did they sneak in a line alluding to homosexuality? Very cheekily done.
All this variation in writing might have been just about acceptable were it not for the drama. And I am not even talking about the hero being beaten up endlessly to build tension when you know the tables HAVE TO turn eventually. We can live with that because the action is slick. It is the slow-motion and the over-elongated pauses that make a dent in the impact of the film’s writing. A much crisper style might have nudged War to an above-average movie.
What keeps it afloat than is the just-right performances by the two heroes. Tiger Shroff is getting more comfortable in front of the camera with every film. Even though he doesn’t have the screen presence that Hrithik Roshan commands. Yet. Meanwhile, Hrithik continues to be the perfectly-chiselled Greek god—who has aged really well. His stubble and wrinkles work well, despite the meticulously painted grey hair and tan. In fact, they actually add well to his character’s overall serious personality. He too has begun to merge suave with facial expression. Body language is still a-coming. Until then, though, he looks like he has taken a chapter or two from Pierce Brosnan’s Bond-mannerisms—the smirk, the swagger.
Speaking of which, War’s hint at a sequel might even be an indicator of making it into a Mission Impossible-like or Bond-esque series. Anyway, until heroes and villains don’t learn to stop maaro-ing style to show the enemy how smart they are and just shoot instead, we can continue enjoying guilty-pleasure films like War.
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, Bollywood Hungama : ...On the whole, WAR is a paisa-vasool action entertainer which has style as well as enough twists and turns to keep the viewers engrossed. At the box office, the extended weekend, dazzling action, stunning international locales and stylish execution will ensure mammoth footfalls for the film.... full review
Thumbs up, by Urmimala Banerjee, Bollywood Life : ...WAR is that film that is perfect for a mid-week holiday. It has enough to keep you talking about it for the next couple of days. And ladies, if you start fantastising about Hrithik Roshan once again, do not blame us. Those gleaming biceps are lustworthy and how.... full review
Thumbs up, by Anupama Chopra, Film Companion : ...War isn’t trying for depth but the story isn’t afraid of being slightly more twisty. The film is too long and the post-interval portion sags. In places, the narration gets clumsy – there’s a flashback within a flashback and the songs are force-fitted. In fact, the background music by Sanchit Balhara and Ankit Balhara has more impact than the two songs by Vishal-Shekhar. This is a testosterone-heavy universe – the women, Vaani Kapoor, Soni Razdan, Anupriya Goenka briefly saunter in to provide the emotional centre. But War is very much a bromance which sparkles because Hrithik and Tiger are combative without being competitive.... full review
Thumbs up, by Madhuri V, Filmi Beat : ...Two good-looking men on the big screen, pulsating action and chase sequences and opulent production value; Siddharth Anand makes sure there's plenty, both for Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff fans. At one point in the film, he even gets Hrithik's character Kabir to say, 'Iss War ka asli hero Khalid (Tiger Shroff) hai.' I am going with 3 stars.... full review
Thumbs up, by Monika Rawal Kukreja, Hindustan Times : ...War, a big spectacle film, is definitely worth a watch for the sheer joy of seeing this dream pair of Hrithik and Tiger on the silver screen.... full review
Thumbs up, by R.M. Vijayakar, India West : ...This is one of those films that will make a surefire box-office mark thanks to obvious aspects like its hype, promotions, time of release, charisma of the lead players, scale and mounting of production, and last but not least, escalated tiket rates. In merit, it deserves an above-average rating and scores high for its target audiences but the avoidable flaws can pull down what could have been unmitigated high potential as a blockbuster classic. Only the first of the two options—great business— will be fulfilled despite the kind of main whopper twist that could have zoomed it places.... full review
Thumbs up, by Sonil Dedhia, MiD DAY : ...With hyper-stylised stunts, superlative cinematography and two sincere actors holding fort, War is a deliciously thrilling experience. Anand keeps the curiosity going by hinting at a sequel; I, for one, won't mind it.... full review
Thumbs up, by Priyanka Sinha Jha, News18.com : ...War, which released on October 2nd, ticks against all the boxes of a blockbuster film. Given the massive collection on Day 1, the box- office battle is a war this film seems to have won already.... full review
Thumbs up, by Vaibhavi V Risbood, Pinkvilla : ...The music and background score keeps the energy of this action flick high. Dialogues are well-written and throw in a tint of humour which adds to the chemistry between Hrithik and Tiger.... full review
Thumbs up, by Nandini Ramnath, Scroll.in : ...The male leads, separated by a couple of generations and united by their ability to land punches and execute pirouettes without breaking a sweat, set the screen on fire. Fortunately for War, there is barely a scene without either of them.... full review
Thumbs up, by Gaurang Chauhan, Times Now : ...As Siddharth Anand quipped in a conversation with me before the release, War isn't a life-changing experience, but, it is high on entertainment, shock value and fun. Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff's face-off is a blast. War demands suspension of disbelief and it is a must for you to enjoy this clash of the titans. Watch it.... full review
So-So, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...And the film is itself about traitors to the nation. Even if you want to watch War as a “leave your brains at home” movie, the writing team doesn’t leave its brains at home. They take it seriously, and that’s why War is a defining action movie of our time. It’s Hollywood enough to rock the multiplexes, but it doesn’t forget its roots.... full review
So-So, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...Summing up, no complaints from either Hrithik or Tiger as they both did their best, exploiting their charm, creating a riot, especially in the action and road-bike chase sequence in particular shot extremely well. But the film offers nothing new or fresh as content, becoming a major disappointment. To be fair, I only enjoyed the spirited entries of the stars, their swag, one thrilling chase sequence and the dance number featuring both the dancing icons but nothing else.... full review
So-So, by Deepa Gahlot, Deepa Gahlot : ...The stars deliver what is expected of them—eye candy–so audiences will probably overlook the boring bits and the many ‘facepalm’ moments and enjoy the view.... full review
So-So, by Sanyukta Thakare, DNA : ...Overall we have a hollow script with little emotions, a big budget and a team that has something to prove. WAR seems more like a Hrithik Roshan and YRF come back than anything else.... full review
So-So, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...This movie works because of its faultless casting and thrill-spewing action choreography. The story with deception and deceit as its central focus is pretty much hackneyed and seen before. Despite the rather long run-time, this film manages to keep you entertained and interested.... full review
So-So, by Vishal Verma, Glamsham.com : ...YRF touted big spectacle after the forgettable THUGS OF HINDOSTAN stars Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff. It’s designed as an epic espionage action but it feels like a stunt, but a harmless and enjoyable one at least for the fans of Hrithik and Tiger. Going with a generous 3 star for this touted ‘Face Off’.... full review
So-So, by Nairita Mukherjee, india today : ...War is a crowd-puller, but it isn’t meant to further the cause of cinema. It will entertain you. But if you plan to take something away from a film, watch Joker instead.... full review
So-So, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...War movie review: The chief trouble with War is that all the space is divvied up between Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff, that the poor baddies don’t really get a chance.... full review
So-So, by Kamaal R Khan, Khaleej Times : ...War is only watchable for Hrithik and Tiger. But other than that, the film is difficult to digest due to its unbelievable plot and predictable screenplay. Hardcore Hrithik and Tiger fans, as well as those who love action films, though will definitely love War.... full review
So-So, by Umesh Punwani, koimoi : ...All said and done, War is a timepass watch and nothing more than that. Hollywood feeds us such movies on a regular basis & if you just want to see how Bollywood has achieved that, go for it. Watch it for the action & style because there’s nothing else to look up to.... full review
So-So, by Uday Bhatia, Live Mint : ...War is a reminder that, as far as big-budget action goes, there are still few better. He seems to relax in these movies in a way he isn’t able to when he’s being a Serious Actor. Shroff, who never looks relaxed, appears very much in awe of him. “Khalid used to be my student," Kabir says. “Perhaps he now thinks he’s surpassed the teacher." No one is likely to leave with that impression.... full review
So-So, by Vinamra Mathur, MiD DAY : ...Aditya Chopra and Siddharth Anand, who have co-written the plot, want to stimulate and shock the audiences at the same time. And simultaneously infuse the pride of Deshbhakti into our hearts, as if Kumar and Abraham didn't do it correctly.... full review
So-So, by Karan Singh Chilotre, Movie Talkies : ...In the second of the film, we have Vaani Kapoor who comes in picture as Naina who fills in the glamour quotient of the film with her beauty. The chemistry between Hrithik Roshan and Vaani Kapoor is too fiery. Talking about the action packed scenes, the actors Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff have enthralled everyone with their stellar performances, but then the action scenes are used to a very large extent in the second half of the story ensuring that the viewers would get quite bored and by the time the film came to an end, its story was quite predictable. The action scenes could have been reduced and plot of the second half could have been woven together in a better manner. Keeping all these factors into consideration,... full review
So-So, by Kunal Guha, Mumbai Mirror : ...War packs in a bit of everything. Chase sequences on supercars on supercars over snow-covered terrains, and also on sportbikes — zipping through cobblestone streets across Europe. Then, there are vehicles being tossed from the sky and off cliffs to make Rohit Shetty proud. And even the unarmed combat sequences include a jab, stab, and lockdown to tick all the boxes. But when the film’s chief villain and India’s most wanted happens to be called Ilyasi, the joke seems to be on us.... full review
So-So, by Rajeev Masand, News18.com : ...Now it’s true that no one comes to watch an action film for its complex plot or layered characters. But War is disappointing even by the typically low expectations from an action film. Did it really have to be so dumb? Did the big twist have to be so unconvincing? Given the big name talent attached, the size and scale of production involved, one can only put it down to laziness.... full review
So-So, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...There’s no time to feel sorry for either when all your focus is taken up by the star who looks like he hasn’t had let his hair down in a long, long time. After all, everything is fair in you know what.... full review
So-So, by Vinayak Chakravorty, Sify Movies : ...Just as it was never meant to be a film in the strictest sense, War was also never meant to be about acting skills. Hrithik and Tiger were never really required to act in this film - they were required to pose, strut and unleash the swag, and they do all of it with gusto. If War was always about its leading men, the duo manages to deliver some thunder in this piece of absolute blunder. Go for War only if you root for Hrithik and/or Tiger.... full review
So-So, by Namrata Joshi, The Hindu : ...Despite there being nothing new and everything predictable about it, War is slick and smart and keeps the audience engaged and absorbed. What irks is the nth iteration of a Muslim trying to prove his loyalty for Bharat. The good Muslim shoved in to balance out the global Islamic terror. Why do it so needlessly and thoughtlessly when the film is anyhow successful enough in its larger aim of providing “entertainment, entertainment, entertainment”?... full review
So-So, by Rachit Gupta, Times of India : ...Like the quintessential entertainer, War serves up a little bit of everything in its narrative — action, drama, music, romance, exotic locations and car chases. The screenplay makes room for every commercial movie element. In a bid to make it Hollywood-esque, director Siddharth Anand and his team have designed the many stunts of the film to recreate thrills that you’d usually watch in movies like Mission Impossible and Fast And Furious.... full review
So-So, by Ritika Handoo, Zee News : ...The screenplay keeps playing with the viewer's mind with too many flashbacks and juggling between time zones. So much so, that at one point, you will give up!... full review
Thumbs down, by Anna MM Vertticad, FirstPost : ...Khalid is a metaphor for India's Muslim community, and when one person at one point offers what he sees as proof of the young man's patriotism followed by "Isse bada saboot kya ho sakta hai uski vatanparasti ka?" (What greater proof can there be of his devotion to the nation?), the condescension just shoots through the roof.... full review
Thumbs down, by Saibal Chatterjee, NDTV : ...As soon as the next gunshot is fired, War returns to the core business of violent confrontations that push the combatants to the limits of their ability to endure pain. They test the patience of the audience too. This War is just not worth fighting. It begins with a bang and ends with a bang, but is otherwise a whimper all the way. Only for fans of Hrithik and Tiger.... full review
Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.
This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.