MUMBAI In the world created by Abbas-Mustan, if you are a multi-billionaire who wants to build a casino and are refused permission by the government, you invite an official responsible out for drinks, dance with him and then shoot him in the middle of a crowded discotheque and walk out without batting an eyelid.
In this world of "Race 2", you can get away with stealing the Shroud of Turin with something as simple as a decoy bomb and people use "sensor technology" to play card games and spy on their loved ones. It may have looked cool 20 years ago, but now it's just a tad ridiculous.
The film doesn't really take from the 2008 movie "Race", of which this is supposed to be a sequel. But to be fair to the filmmakers, there are some common characters. We see Ranvir Singh again (Saif Ali Khan), but without Sonia (Bipasha Basu). Instead, he now operates alone, seemingly helping out former street fighter-turned-billionaire Armaan Mallik (John Abraham) to make more money and protect his business from rivals.
Of course, in keeping with the Abbas-Mustan tradition, no one in the film has clear motives. So Armaan's step-sister Alina (Deepika Padukone) seems to be on her brother's side, while Armaan's girlfriend Omisha (Jacqueline Fernandez) may not be who she seems.
The story doesn't have too many twists and turns like the earlier film, and the directors do not manage to keep you on the edge of your seat. They insert crude jokes about women and fruits (Ameesha Patel, in a cringeworthy role, allows herself to be subjected to crass jokes) and coupled it with a very lacklustre plot that smacks of lazy writing.
Among the cast, Saif Ali Khan plays the suave conman well enough and Deepika Padukone looks like a billion bucks. But everyone else is stone-faced and expressionless (I am looking at you John Abraham).
This might have been a stylish film ten years ago, but the world and Bollywood has moved on. Blowing up cars and robbing banks are passe.
The most uncool part about this film, though, has to be the crude jokes that Anil Kapoor's character cracks with his assistant Cherry. At a time when we are debating whether or not Bollywood objectifies women, you don't need a bigger example than "Race 2"to see that it clearly does.
(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily of Reuters)
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The film, made on a stated budget of 800 million rupees ($12.5 million), made around 160 million rupees ($2.5 million) in its opening weekend, a dismal figure for a film that had A-list stars like Ranbir Kapoor, Karan Johar and Anushka Sharma in lead roles and a huge publicity campaign behind it. Read