“Mainstream cinema is supposed to be escapist”, “One shouldn’t look for ‘realism’ when Bhai drifts his bike and shoots the ‘bad guys'”, “Action movies aren’t *supposed* to have logic” – trust me, I already know most of what I’m about to hear.
But let’s compare the trailers for Race 3 and Mission Impossible: Fallout – that came out only a day apart. Salman Khan’s film has a sequence like this:
While the sixth (phew!) installment of a franchise where Cruise has done everything including hanging out of an airplane… sees him do this:
Do you notice a difference? In the former, where the camera, action and everything else revolves around how the lead actor looks, in the latter sequence – the actor is merely a prop for the sequence. Salman Khan’s face is of utmost importance in every frame of the Race 3 trailer, while the ‘stunts’ seem to be the centerpiece for Tom Cruise’s action film.
These are both OTT action film franchises, replete with slow-motion sequences in exotic parts of the world. But can you see the difference in the treatments? They’re both star-vehicles of course, where one star seems to be hell-bent on pushing the envelope for action set-pieces…. the other is happy to *appear* in every frame of a film built around him.
So the thing about action films is – the audience obviously knows the nuclear bomb will be diffused in the end. The good guys will win and the world will survive to see yet another bright, sunny day. In spite of this knowledge, a good action film should be able to suck you into the narrative. Take for that matter Tom Cruise hanging from the world’s tallest building. We all know he’s going to safely make it into the building (if he fell and died, that would be BIGGGG news no?), but the way they execute the stunt using practical effects + VFX, most of us were on the edge of our seats.
Tom Cruise *literally* hung out of the Burj Khalifa, flew a helicopter in a high-adrenaline chase sequence and broke his ankle while jumping from building to another. What did the other guy do?
Salman Khan’s nonchalance could have been a good thing if it was even self-aware. Alas! He’s still stuck in his Superbhai mould, where the people around him can make him do anything. Beat the shit out of everyone, maneuver stunt bikes, avoid footpaths during a high-speed chase in the film’s climax. What they cannot do is make it look honest and sincere.
The trailer for Race 3 seems to be a result of Ramesh Taurani’s many wet dreams of becoming a rich(er?) man. Considering his last hit film was 2013’s Race 2, one doesn’t need to be rocket scientist to understand why he’s gone all out to display his wealth in this one. Hit franchise + hit hero = An orgasm worth Rs 300 crore.
Also, look at the quality actors participating in the latest Mission Impossible film – Henry Cavill, Angela Bassett, Sean Harris. Who does its Bollywood counterpart have? Daisy Shah saying- “Our business is OUR business… none of your business.” Who do they think their audiences really are? Ignorant monoliths incapable of spotting bad and childish dialogues?
Just because it’s a ‘dumb action film’ doesn’t mean one can get away with lazy plot contrivances, amateurish writing and cardboard acting. Those are the basics. Sajid Nadiadwala recently said about the success of Baaghi 2, that even making these bad films isn’t the same as making 2-minute noodles. Sure, so spend your blood and sweat making something ‘smarter’? At least, aspire to something better? A sequence could surely be absolutely preposterous and yet fun to watch!
One can smell sincerity and honesty in a film, and if Salman Khan really cares about some respect (apart from the 300 crore in his bank account) – one would hope that he mend his approach towards his next ‘mindless, leave-your-brains-at-home entertainer’.
Hey Salman, could you at least care a little bit about what you’re making? Even in this world of make-believe, would it hurt to be a little real?