If there is one thing that exemplifies Deven Bhojani's sequel to the 2013 action film "Commando", it is the fleeting glimpse we get of a water bottle that the hero drinks, which is similar to the ones you find in corner shops. But in the movie, a "Perrier" label is pasted on it to give the impression of extravagance when there is none.
Bhojani fools no one in this shabbily put-together, cut-price version of an action film that shuttles between being an advertisement for the government's drive against illicit wealth and a plot that is so focused on providing a "Kahaani mein twist" (Twist in the tale) that it loses sight of logic.
His hero, Karan (Vidyut Jammwal), is an army commando who is foolhardy enough to spy on the home minister of the country and forcibly infiltrates a team of officers who are on a mission to bring back India's biggest money launderer. Vicky Chaddha, we are told, is the point person for India's most corrupt politicians and businessmen who want to park their ill-gotten wealth in banks and tax-havens abroad.
A somber voiceover at the beginning of "Commando 2 – The Black Money Trail" informs us that if all the so-called black money was distributed to India's poor, the country's problems would be solved. No farmers would commit suicide and we would have the best roads and infrastructure in the world.
Indeed, the final scene has gratuitous visuals of forlorn farmers sitting in their arid fields and then jumping for joy when they realise that the promised bounty has actually landed in their bank accounts.
The naivety in the beginning gradual gives way to sheer ridiculousness as the 123-minute movie spirals into a whorl of bad acting and even worse accents (Adah Sharma trying to pull off a Hyderabadi twang is grating on the ears). The bad guys keep changing motives as do the good guys, and when the climax finally rolls in, you have no idea why they went through all the trouble of what they did in the first place.
Written by Ritesh Shah, the dialogue is a predictable mix of WhatsApp patriotism and tired cliches. Jammwal is obviously intent on showing us how many vegetable carts he can upset and how many punches he can land in the space of a minute. Esha Gupta as the smirking and sighing villain is unintentionally funny.
Just like the government's campaign against black money, "Commando 2 – The Black Money Trail" makes little sense.