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Force 2 review: John Abraham's action thriller is all brawn, no brain

While the film does have a noble heart, it loses sight of its ideals through the over-complicated plot sequence.

Shriram Iyengar

Film: Force 2 (U/A)
Rating: 3/5

Creating a spy-thriller film is never easy. By definition, it requires the writer and director to access information which governments have purposely kept secret. The sequel to Force (2011), directed by Abhinay Deo, seeks to enter the same domain as other brilliant Hollywood spy thrillers of recent times like Skyfall (2012) and The Bourne Identity (2002).

Despite the presence of a hulking John Abraham and a sulking Sonakshi Sinha, the film is a letdown because of a muddled script that, well, forces you to take the term 'Intelligence agency' with a generous pinch of salt.

Deo's film carries seeds of influence from Skyfall to The Bourne Ultimatum (2007). If only they had tried Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) as well.

The film begins with a rapid assassination tour of multiple Indian RAW agents in China. This results in key members of the Indian intelligence agency making the astute observation: 'They are doing this to destabilise our intelligence system in China.' What gives, Sherlock! It is surprising that these assassinations did not result in a diplomatic war, or recall of all remaining agents in the country. But, then, this is a Hindi film. Everything goes. 

Enter ACP Yashwardhan, whose friend has just been assassinated, beating up malnourished bad guys, working out with cars, and hallucinating without drugs; all by himself. Finding clues from his friend's book (which should, by protocol, have been sent to the agency, not a civilian), he approaches the Intelligence agency to start a mission. He is joined by Kamaljeet Kaur (Sinha), whose inability to fire a weapon does not prevent her superiors from sending her out in the field. Perhaps, in other circumstances, they would have asked her to stick to the administrative section. Thus begins the search for the reclusive mole in the agency.

Tahir Raj Bhasin plays Shiv Sharma (or at least that's his name for a major part of the film) with quiet menace. Portrayed as the Indian spy selling secrets to the Chinese for personal gain, the actor manages to raise the level of intrigue in the plot.He was introduced as a talent in Mardaani (2014), and continues to show some bright signs for his future.

But Bhasin's Javier Bardem-esque turn is let down by dialogues that are more cliched than Mogambo's reaction to being happy. The first sign of him being the major villain are his playing an eerie tune on the mouth organ while chess pieces flash past the camera screen. If that doesn't prove our villain is a prodigal genius with intelligence capable of destroying a spy network, nothing will.

Boman Irani makes a surprise appearance and manages to put in a good shift for the few seconds on screen. Adil Hussain is another talent that is wasted in a fleeting role. 

Make no mistake, this is a John Abraham movie. The actor's rippling muscles are the only rivals to the European beauties shown on screen. The action sequences directed by Allan Amin are as expected but carry enough thrill to keep you glued to the screen. At one point, the actor smashes through seven doors to get to his escaping prisoner faster. Even Daniel Craig did not do that as James Bond, let alone Jason Bourne. Rooftop chases, gunfights, hand-to-hand combat, and a few explosions are thrown in for good measure.

The climax is the icing on the cake. Perhaps only Amin, or director Deo, can explain why the action sequence in the climax suddenly shifts to First Person mode. It is almost like playing Counterstrike on the big screen, just not as much fun.

Sinha looks more serious than Abraham, but is disappointing with the action. Billed as an 'equal hero' in the film, the actress has precious few action scenes, and does not even get to fire her weapon in the first half of the film. The feminist revolution in Hindi cinema definitely needs more time.

For a film that revolves around intelligence agencies, it lacks some. The clues in the film are obvious enough for the layman to figure out, even without the unnecessary explanation. It would serve directors better if they chose to leave the audience to do some working out on their own.

You are left with the feeling that this could have been a better film with a tighter script. We certainly doubt that RAW agents, or any international spy, would fall for the lure of a simple e-mail that actually declares 'information about a recruit'. You would expect an intelligence agency to conduct a more thorough background check on their recruits, if only to prevent being shown up by a Mumbai cop with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Further, Sinha's agent, who runs the risk of being disowned by her country, roams around with a gun at her hip in a Hungarian pub. But the most unforgivable question is, why would there be a badly remixed version of 'Kaate Nahin Kat-te' from Mr India playing in a Hungarian pub, with the dancers singing in perfect Hindi? As for Sinha and John's not-so secret agents, they must be the most loquacious agents to appear on screen.

Force 2 does have its brighter side. The cinematography is beautiful and captures European cities at their best. The action sequences are thrilling. It is the narrative and the dialogues that let the film down. While the film does have a noble heart, it loses sight of its ideals through the over-complicated plot sequence. Sad.

Director: Abhinay Deo
Producer: Vipul Amrutlal Shah
Cast: John Abraham, Sonakshi Sinha, Tahir Raj Bhasin
Writers: Parveez Sheikh, Jasmeet K Reen
Genre: Action
Runtime: 127 minutes