‘Race 2’ movie review: A race of money and glamour!

Ananya Bhattacharya

‘Race 2’ has every ingredient of an Abbas Mustan flick. It’s got oodles of glamour, scorching style, sleek Bond-ish heroes, gorgeous ladies, characters with more than fifty shades of grey, some enjoyable background music, talks of yachts, and oh boy - some cars, and overshadowing every other thing – money!

The sequel to the 2008 blockbuster, ‘Race 2’, too, starts off with a bang. The petrol tank of a bright yellow Lamborghini is shot at, and the beast explodes into flames. Inspector Robert D’Costa’s (Anil Kapoor) voiceover introduces Arman Malik – a tux-clad John Abraham – for whom nothing holds more importance than money.

Then, Arman’s half-sister Eleana (Deepika Padukone), who owns half of Malik’s empire, is presented – a woman who leaves no stone unturned in furthering her property. Deepika’s stylist deserves a wholehearted pat on the back – Padukone looks ultra-gorgeous.

Omeesha (Jaqueline Fernandez) is Arman’s girlfriend. And then there is The Ranveer Singh (Saif Ali Khan). This time around, he is baying for Arman’s blood.

An extraordinarily dumb Ameesha Patel – playing Anil’s sidekick Cherry – can mouth heavily innuendo-laden sentences like “When will you pop my cherry?”, but is intolerably stupid at understanding others. For this Cherry hasn’t even heard of the eighteenth century Shape-of-a-Banana joke. However, Ameesha, who steps into the shoes of Sameera Reddy, doesn’t really come across as anything more than a useless accessory. Patel doesn’t really have any role to play apart from the sex-starved secretary who tries to jump at her boss at every littlest opportunity.

The story involves casinos, generous numbers of Audis – which at times make you wonder whether or not the film is a giant commercial for the car brand. There’s actually a cleverly-put-in sentence promoting a model of the car too.

People in this film speak of money in millions and billions of Euros – to a point where you stop working out the zeroes in the figures. The style quotient is so much in the film that even in the pouring rain, and sobbing in front of a grave, Saif cannot take his glares off.

There are twists and turns, some extra-longwinding chase scenes which could definitely have been shortened, and action. The film – apart from the amount of money put in constructing it bit by bit, and its action sequences – is actually nothing. It is very glittery, making it blinding at times. And yes, betrayal is survival – every bit so.

Saif gets to mouth some of the best dialogues in the two and a half hours of blasts and twists and turns. Sample a few: Ranveer saying, “Revenge is a dish best served cold”, “Race humesha meri hi thi aur meri hi rahegi… (The race was always mine, and will always be mine…)”, and the like.

When it comes to acting, barring Ameesha Patel, most have lived up to their roles. Saif, reprising Ranveer’s role from the original, does a great job this time too. John Abraham’s character is painted in the darker shades of grey, and Action Abraham plays the cold-blooded Arman Malik well. He tries hard to provide his character with the required depth and succeeds mostly. Deepika’s acting skills are going up with every single film of hers. If in ‘Cocktail’ she played the carefree Veronica to the hilt, here she ups her performance with the shrewd Eleana. Jaqueline Fernandez has some really stylish fencing and archery scenes in the film – only that their purpose evades the senses. Anil Kapoor in his fruit-loving Robert D’Costa avatar justifies the role completely.

An almost blink-and-miss cameo by Bipasha Basu is the basic premise of the film, and the lady doesn’t disappoint. The supporting cast of Aditya Pancholi and Rajesh Khattar play along well. As for Ameesha Patel, enough said already.

Salim-Sulaiman’s background score matches the high-octane action scenes completely and is a huge advantage for the story – without it, the film might have been a pretty damp affair. Music director Pritam has a song for every drop of a hat.

The most famous song of the film, ‘Allah duhai hai’, ironically, comes across as unintentionally funny – and placed at a moment which makes it so. ‘Be intehaa’ in Atif Aslam and Sunidhi Chauhan’s voice is an enjoyable one. The music of the film is mostly for moments when you have a party on your mind – literally.

The film is defined by its well defined and crazy action sequences – and a lot of it. Shiraz Ahmed’s story doesn’t come across as the most defining feature of the film: blame the excessive action for that. The film is left open-ended, and – I can bet anything on this – there’s a sequel to this one coming up soon. The story isn’t able to keep one glued to the screen: your attention sways from not-enjoyable to boring several times.

In all, ‘Race 2’ is a grand display of money. The adrenaline-pumping action is the plus point of the film, but too much of that does no good to it. Two and a half stars from me for this Friday’s ‘expensive’ release.

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