Tiger Shroff has time-and-again billed himself solely as an action hero, and his latest release, Baaghi 2 – a follow-up to the smash hit Baaghi, which released two years ago – certainly goes a long way in cementing his image as one – an image that he doesn’t shy away form and one that he flaunts with pride. But does the film have other angles to satisfy non-action movie fans, non-Tiger Shroff fans, or just those who like their action mixed with a strong plot and fleshed-out characters other than the hero.
Well there are bits and pieces of the above elements in the film, but none of them come together as a whole or even individually to make this a memorable action film like say a Tiger Zinda Hai last year or even like one of Akshay Kumar’s Khiladi films or Sunny Deol’s ultra-macho fare from the 90s and early 2000s. The action is top-notch and Tiger pulls off his role quite well, even hosing great improvement in his emoting skills. But the backup to him and his action isn’t that supportive.
The core plot is quite similar to the Telugu film, Kshanam – something the makers have openly consented to. Neha’s (Disha Patani) young son has been abducted and no one from the cops to anyone in her husband’s family is willing to help her. She then turns to her ex-flame Ranveer Pratap Singh aka Ronny (Tiger) to save her kid. The two were a hot item in their college days (insert unnecessary and excruciating clichéd flashback with zero chemistry between our lead pair; mostly due to Disha’s lack of expressions – surprising if speculation of the two dating is true), but are now leading very different lives. While Neha became the typical homemaker and damsel-in-distress (nothing wrong or stereotypical with that; plenty such women exist in real life, and we’re no one to judge them), Ronny went on to become a tougher-than-tough, braver-than-brave, and extremely skilled Special Ops Army Officer, ergo, the best man for the job.
The plot takes Ronny shuttling between places till all the action finally culminates in Goa – fitting , considering Neha’s brother-in-law, the perennially drugged-out Sunny (Prateik Babbar) is one of the chief conspirators behind abducting her son. Ronny’s investigation also bring him head-on against the zonal DIG of police (Manoj Bajpayee) – a lawman who bends every aspect of the law with his clout to serve his nefarious activities. Another player in this game is an ACP who simply goes by the moniker of LSD (Randeep Hooda) – an officer who sways wherever the wind blows favorably and changes his appearances and actions based on the setting of the place and situation of the case. As Ronny traverses the path to Neha’s kidnapped son and works his way through Bajpayee and his cronies, a lot of opportunities rise for Tiger to show off his impressive martial arts skills and penchant for pulling off daredevil stunts, giving the audience their money’s worth as far as the action is concerned.
The issues arise with the very cast of negative characters that offer Tiger the scope for his signature action moves. Neither Bajpayee nor Prateik make a formidable foe to Tiger and Randeep’s role is plain confusing. It’s to his credit that he manages to infuse LSD with some charm despite a flimsy character sketch. Ahmed Khan’s direction, however, let’s Bajpayee and Prateik down the most, with the former resorting to hammering to leave a mark and the latter trudging along with no real purpose. Other accomplished performers like Darshan Kumar and Deepak Dobriyal are reduced to mere afterthoughts, again due to Ahemd’s lack of imagination. In comparison, the first Baaghi worked quite well because of the challenges and threats posed to Tiger by the film’s villain, Sudheer Babu. Even Shraddha Kapoor had quite a bit to do in that film while Disha is reduced to mere shrieks and tears here, which would have still been all right had she not looked so incapable of even shedding half a tear convincingly.
It’s like Ahmed doesn’t eve nbother to focus on the story or supporting cast as long as Tiger’s there to remove his shirt and kick ass. Thankfully, Tiger almost holds everything together – the climax scene in the jungle and one where he leaps onto a helicopter are simply breathtaking – but there’s only so much you can do when your Director expects you to do everything. Also, truth be told, Tiger still has some way to go with his dialogue delivery and emoting – regardless of his remarkable improvement – and when he’s expected to shoulder the responsibility in these departments, too – with the Director completely sideling actors who’re actually good at it – then you can’t really fault him for coming up a tad short. (A scene reminiscent of Sunny Deol’s incarcerated moment in the masterpiece Ghayal, where he boldly calls out the police officers’ corruption, badly exposes Tiger’s dialogue delivery.) An Indian action hero needs to be adept at ‘dialoguebaazi‘, unlike his western counterpart, and Ahmed should have realized this when burdening Tiger with so much to do. On the other hand, Sabbir Khan, had smartly given our hero short, witty quips in his first outing as a rebel with a cause, which sounded quite good when he mouthed them.
To sum it up, Baaghi 2 fails to be a sum of its parts even though some of the action sequences are a sight to behold. Lack of vision when it comes to the supporting cast and flimsy direction of a promising premise, leads to several missteps for a film that had every right to be way better than it ends up as. Tiger is the heart and soul of Baaghi 2, but he’s been greatly disservice by Ahmed Khan’s unimaginative direction. This one’s strictly for action fans and no one else.
Movified Rating: 2.5/5
Images Source: NGE