Synopsis – A Hindi remake of the South Korean thriller The Outlaws (2017)
My Take – After skipping last year’s Eid, due to the nationwide lock down in India, Salman Khan is back again with yet another release, which unfortunately finding itself in a similar situation has released directly on Zee5 and ZeePlex in India and theatrically in the overseas.
However, once again their isn’t much to expect as Salman Khan (who produces the film with his brother Sohail Khan, his brother-in-law Atul Agnihotri and Zee Studios) while teaming up with director Prabhudeva, following the 2009 blockbuster Wanted and the appalling 2019 three-quel Dabangg 3, adds yet another entry into his list of money making damp squibs like Tubelight (2017) and Race 3 (2018). Demonstrating once again that, with a few exceptions like Bajrangi Bhaijaan (2015), Sultan (2016), and the Tiger series, Hindi cinema’s most commercially successful actor, has been continuing to lose his understanding of the needs of the general audience.
What’s most surprising is that, despite retaining much of the plot, dramatic sequences and the excessive violence of the very enjoyable Kang Yoon-sung directed South Korean action thriller The Outlaws (2017), of which this Prabhudeva directorial is a remake off, it offers nothing in the form of entertainment.
Mainly as the only thing the film seems to be interested is in idolizing Salman Khan’s star power. Other than the working on the essence of what made the 2017 so spectacular, it prefers to throw in cringe-worthy humor, action scenes piled up on each other, bad CGI, and unwanted dance numbers, a staple of Salman Khan led films. And by the time we reach climax, Salman Khan’s lead character ends up being a mix between a superhero and Vin Diesel‘s Dom Toretto, from the Fast & Furious series, which at least carries it’s abashing with aplomb.
While I personally would still rate this one a notch above the hideous Remo D’Souza 2017 excuse of a directorial (even though the current IMDb ratings state otherwise), it is hard to see even Bhai fanatics defend this one.
The story follows Radhe (Salman Khan), a suspended eccentric Mumbai police officer, who known for holding a distinguishing 97 encounters and 23 transfers record, is called back to duty by his superiors to curb a serious problem, which requires his outside the book methodology. While the police has been dealing with turf war in the city, a new mysterious gangster named Rana (Randeep Hooda), who along with his lieutenants, Lota (Sangay Tsheltrim) and Girgit (Gautam Gulati), has been building his network of drug mafia, by targeting school going youngsters, leading to an outbreak of addiction and deaths.
Determined to rid the city of the menace by any means possible, Radhe begins extensive cleansing, all while also finding time to romance, Diya (Disha Patani), a headlining model and the younger sister of his supervisor, ACP Avinash Abhyankar (Jackie Shroff). The rest of the film is as anyone would expect. Radhe chases after Rana and keeps running into Diya, with the cycle continuing until he proposes to her and then dishes out some Bane (from The Dark Knight Rises) inspired justice to Rana.
Sure, considering the amount of releases he has had over the past decade, it is wrong to much logic or story from a Salman Khan release, as they usually strive on providing entertainment on a basic story and the star’s larger than life persona. However here, the film’s entirety is based on acknowledging how awesome the lead character is, no matter the requirement of the sequence or not.
Honestly, while I could see Salman Khan as an Indianized version of Ma Dong-seok‘s no-nonsense cop with an understated funny bone, Ma Seok-do, the film suffers from being forced to drive everything towards showcasing his eternal vigor, especially in every awkward scene he appears with his 27 years younger heroine.
Making sure that none of the other characters get to shine, with most of the scenes just woven randomly together showing little progression of the story, which is a shame as The Outlaws worked mainly as a whodunit wrapped in an action thriller, especially keeping the personality and the motivation of the film’s main antagonist a mystery till the final act.
The reason why films like Wanted and Dabangg (only the 1st one) worked, despite the presence of formulaic story telling techniques, is that the makers had the audience hooked to the story, the characters and their motivations and stakes in the narrative. But here, director Prabhadeva’s tacky direction doesn’t offer a single scene to take notice of the unfolding, or offers any predicament to the fate of the characters.
Instead the screenplay is all about following a sequence which sticks to fight, romance, dance, and providing unswerving sermons. Even the fight sequences are over the top flat with obvious use of Salman Khan‘s double in place. Mercifully, the best part of the film is its shortened run time of 114 minutes, which was probably done to make it more adaptable on a digital format.
Performance wise, even the most zealous Salman Khan fan, who possess a high appetite for his antics, can see through his zero efforts lackluster act here. It is like he knew that he just had to stand around with the same facial expression throughout and mouth corny dialogues to extract claps and whistles from his fans. With the exception of Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Sultan and Tubelight, here, Salman Khan continues to play a version of his swagger self which he successfully molded about 20 years ago. Like most of his films, this one too treats his female lead, in this case Disha Patani, as nothing but a beautiful body on display whose sole job is to give him someone to fall in love with and dance with. Even the chemistry between the two is uneasy.
It’s a pity watching an actor of Jackie Shroff‘s status to waste himself in such an inferior project, especially hamming to death. Though Randeep Hooda’s role has him mainly confined to bloodletting and offering a threatening stare, he tries to salvage the film through his acting skills by making an effort to essay his brutal character efficiently. The same goes for Gautam Gulati and Sangay Tsheltrim who get to display enough of their menacing act.
In other roles, Megha Akash, Sudhanshu Pandey, Bharath Srinivasan, Pravin Tarde, Ihana Dhillon, Shawar Ali, and singer Arjun Kanungo are wasted. On the whole, ‘Radhe: Your Most Wanted Bhai’ is yet another dumbfounding atrocious formulaic action thriller from brand Salman Khan.
Directed – Prabhu Deva
Rated – PG13
Run Time – 114 minutes