Flogging a dead horse is never a good idea, especially when it is a thoroughbred that did more than its bit when it was alive.
No wonder this sequel to the critically acclaimed 2004 hit, Ab Tak Chhappan, is no patch on the original film despite the fact that lead actor Nana Patekar goes out on a limb in a bid to lend the stale cop-and-gangsters drama some dramatic muscle.
The seasoned actor is let down by a feckless script that falls back on the conventions of the genre to rustle something out of nothing. Bollywood has moved on from where it was a decade ago, and the clich?s do not work anymore.
Encounter specialist Sadhu Agashe (Nana Patekar) has retreated to his village to spend his retirement years with his son. But he is compelled to return to the thick of the action when a gang war breaks out in Mumbai and the city needs his services all over again.
Now a mellowed pro, he finds that the battle has turned too murky and bloody for his liking, but, as always, the wily cop keeps his cool and goes about the task of outfoxing the gangsters.
He also has to contend with rivalry within the ranks in the shape of a disgruntled cop (Ashutosh Rana), who isn?t impressed with the idea of Agashe coming out of hibernation to call the shots as the head of the encounter squad.
As the cussed crime fighter takes everything in his stride, delivering punch lines that are meant to instill the fear of law in the minds of all wrongdoers, the film goes down its chosen self-destructive path, quickly reaching a point of no return.
Patekar, on his part, does the best he can, but saddled with predictable situations and laboured lines that reek of laziness, he can do precious little to salvage the film from sinking.
Ab Tak Chhappan 2 also has Gul Panag playing a crime reporter, but her role, like the rest of the film, seems to have been conceived by somebody who does not have the foggiest clue what is going on.
By the time the film ends, one is left wondering why on earth a bunch of people who had nothing to do with the original, which is generally regarded as one hell of a Bollywood cop drama, would want to pull off a replay.
That is about the only question that is worth seeking an answer to: everything else that Ab Tak Chhappan 2 serves up borders on the utterly meaningless.
Ab Tak Chhappan 2 is a film that is down for the count from scene one.