It is a historic moment for the Indian Hindi film industry. It is the first time a film has been written, produced and directed by an Indian film maker. To achieve that feat, kudos to Vidhu Vinod Chopra.
Set in somewhere around the US- Mexican border, the film is a tale of two brothers, Buddy (Chris Marquette, Alpha Dog) & Jake (Anton Yelchin, Star Trek). Buddy, the elder one, is slow witted and has his encouraging father, the sheriff of the town, (Thomas Jane, Deep Blue Sea) killed in front of his eyes.
Along comes Julius Hench (Vincent D’Onofrio, The Judge) who takes Buddy under his wings as a hitman, whilst Jake is moved to New York to pursue his education in music.
The film is a direct adaptation or remake of Chopra’s super blockbuster, Parinda. For those who have seen Parinda, will easily identify with the story.
Although one expects more drama from an Indian film director, Chopra does a good job keeping the Hollywood sensibilities in mind. Be it his background score by John Debney (Iron Man 2) or Clint Eastwood regular, Tom Stern as his DOP. Although he seems to be tilted more towards the twilight setup. One highlight is the scene showing the shadow of the film reel on Hench’s face.
Where the film lacks is in a build up of drama. One doesn’t feel the sense of pain in Jake during his initiation nor urgency while trying to convince Buddy for his wedding. Somehow he feels to just go through the proceedings without any participation, even though he seems to be orchestrating them.
D’Onofrio on the other hand as the drawling local arms lord, doesn’t have any moments to show either his love for Buddy nor his fear of losing him. Why would he go to such extents at the thought of Buddy’s retirement, whilst he had a whole barrage of them?
The film belongs to Chris as the dim-witted, hot headed, Buddy. He shows his earnesty throughout and wins your heart, particularly in the climax.
The film doesn’t leave you with anything in the end and that is where I feel Chopra’s script fails. He and co-writer Abhijat Joshi needed to add some punches throughout the film to keep the tempo high. Instead it feels like one flat tone throughout.
All in all, it is a great feat and therefore a must watch. Hope the target audiences in USA respond to it well.
Rating: 2.5/ 5
By: Yusuf Poonawala