Baaghi 2: Starring Tiger Shroff, Disha Patani, Manoj Bajpai, Randeep Hooda, Deepak Dobriyal; Directed by Ahmed Khan.
All this while we rued what Jacqueline Fernandez was seen doing to the iconic Ek do teen song and dance number. Turns out, this travesty was the least of the problems in Baaghi 2, an overblown, padded-up and puffed-out adaptation of last year's engrossing Telugu hit 'Kshanam' about an NRI who is summoned back to India by his former girlfriend to find her kidnapped daughter.
Finding the missing girl is not all that concerns the Hindi remake's hero, now re-christened Ranveer Pratap Singh, an army man who gets a chance to use his battle tactics to a wage a kinetic war on drug dealers in an elaborately staged Rambo-like climax that finds Tiger Shroff flying high literally.
He somersaults over flying choppers, flips over conifers, flies across cars and vanquishes adversaries with the quick-thinking machismo of a sumo wrestler thrown into a ring with a cunning and dangerous canine.
A Tiger's Ranveer stops at nothing. The trouble is, the film doesn't know where to stop either. The original plot had some interesting twists and turns in the kidnapping drama.
In the remake the drama of a distressed mother (Disha Patani, so one-note and so pale and pretty your heart reaches out to her for all the wrong reasons) and her saviour is converted into a loud scream-fest where everyone has a 'bawl'.
There is so much sound and fury in the storytelling that I was convinced it signified something. Alas, all I came away with was a convoluted attempt to regurgitate a solid thriller by injecting large doses of bombast and melodrama into the original.
Nothing in Baaghi 2 is done gently. Certainly not the editing which bulldozes through the event-packed narrative caring little for niceties like pace and momentum. Every move is a a slog, every slap is a sledgehammer.
Julius Packiam's background music which tries to keep up with Tiger's rush of bravado, could wake up a pack of comatose wolves, although it could do nothing to keep me from falling into a dreadful numbness of the spirit, the kind one feels when a bunch of over-enthusiastic kindergarten boys try to do a stage version of an Amitabh Bachchan actioner from the 1980s.
Throughout there is a feeling of outdated bravado, an expired bluster which no amount of stunt-baazi can camouflage. Tiger Shroff's action scenes are a saving grace, though most of the stunts are staged with chairs tables and glass doors breaking with pre-orchestrated regularity.
The surprises in the original film are here rendered utterly ineffectual as the narrative pounds and pulverizes the plot with puerility.
Everyone hams. Pratiek Babbar and, surprisingly Manoj Bajpai ham so much it is an embarrassment to watch them whenever they are on screen. With Babbar that's not a major problem as the script has little time for him. The only one who gets away with the hamming is Randeep Hooda. His long-haired hippy-esque cop-act is put forward with a certain degree of intelligence, otherwise found to be lacking in almost every sequence.
At one point in the preposterous plot, a cop is seen propositioning a distressed mother nudging her legs with his legs to suggest what they can do when those legs are not walking.
And all the while Tiger Shroff seethes in anger. No wonder he erupts with the vehemence of a battle-bound gun blazing at enemies across the border. His Rambo act in the third act of this horribly-botched remake saves the day but fails to rescue the film from its numbing nemesis.
Does Tiger find the kidnap victim? Does anyone really care what happens to the missing child when we have more urgent concerns, like trying to hold on to our senses while characters talk nonsense like "Muslims are not only known for biryani but also for qurbani."
This, coming from an actor as able Deepak Dobriyal is a shame. But then, what is not?