Tahir Raj takes the spotlight away from John-Sonakshi in this sequel
Direction: Abhinay Deo
Cast: John Abraham, Sonakshi Sinha, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Narendra Jha, Adil Hussain
The good news: Force 2 makes for a remotely better viewing than John Abraham’s other 2016 action flick Rocky Handsome. The bad news: John Abraham isn’t the reason for this brief compliment. This despite him appearing shirtless with the veins in his neck popping out at one point, and even fighting in a white towel. The actor who makes this film a remotely interesting watch is Tahir Raj Bhasin (of Mardaani fame), who may not have Abraham’s fighting skills but certainly has a body which he isn’t afraid to show off entirely. At least the CBFC’s blurred portion suggests so.
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Tahir plays Shiv Sharma, a spy gone rogue, who has police officer Yashvardhan (Abraham) and RAW agent KK (Sonakshi Sinha) chasing him on streets and rooftops or otherwise driving him around Budapest with the heroic duo trying to dodge cars and bullets. (P.S. At least once they tried to pass off One Indiabulls Centre in Lower Parel, Mumbai for Budapest). Every antagonist has to have a quirk and with Shiv it is his penchant for the mouth organ which he likes to play when he has the upper hand which is for most part of the film. While Yashvardhan is hungry to avenge his spy-bestie’s death in Hungary, KK aka Kamaljit Kaur is trying to overcome her own fears. It’s a clash of ideologies: she is more bookish and analytical, while he has a more rough and instinctual approach. The banter between KK and Yashvardhan is limited and hardly fun.
Force 2 has a storyline which highlights the sacrifice of Indian spies working in hostile conditions abroad but it also adopts a very rote, and later mawkish, approach for its tribute. It doesn’t help that it is a Mumbai police officer who puts all the dots together, not entirely presenting the R&AW as an institution of smart, reliable fellows. Shiv has emotional baggage which has compelled him to tie up with China to kill Indian secret agents. (Credit to Force 2 for going beyond Bollywood’s favourite worst enemy Pakistan to focus on China, the bigger and more powerful and dangerous nation.) Shiv has a bigger target and Yashvardhan and KK often seem ill-equipped with little help from Indian authorities. They both have secrets of their own – him being unable to rescue his wife (Genelia D’Souza in a cameo) in Force (2011) and she repentant for her actions in an earlier mission – but their love for the motherland is bigger than personal anxieties.
The multiple chase sequences involving cars, bikes and one on foot unfolding on the rooftops of Budapest, which is on the lines of the parkour scene in Morocco in Bourne Ultimatum, does keep the film moving but most often Force 2 always feels like it is headed for a destination that is already known. There is a code to crack, an alias, snipers, a hacker, and innumerable goons to keep the hero and heroine always on their feet. But the trouble is most often you end up rooting for the baddie because at least he is a more colourful personality, the predominant being grey, clever and also a better actor.
With the body counting rising, bullets firing from all directions and kicks and punches galore, this game of cat and mouse soon runs short on ideas. Abraham flexes his biceps, gives choke slams and shows off his physique but his action hero act is beginning to wane. Sonakshi, who had more stunts in Akira, starts off as the woman admonishing the hero and then eventually partnering with him but she barely comes across as one of the best RAW operatives in the country because for most part Yashvardhan has to be the man of the two hours and six minutes running time. Thankfully there is only one song albeit it is a ghastly remix of “Kaante Nahi Kat Te”, and KK and Yashvardhan always have work and not sightseeing on their mind. There are brief sparks of an action thriller with taut fight and chase scenes but with its contrived plot it’s not enough to pack a hefty punch.
Source by intoday.in