John Abraham shows off his abs of steel playing a fearless cop committed to wiping out the drug mafia in director Nishikant Kamat’s Force. Judged scrictly by action-movie standards, this remake of the Tamil hit Kaakha Kaakha delivers the goods. After all there are some slickly edited hand-to-hand fight sequences, a few breathless chases, and a little too much blood spill. Yet, because of its cardboard characterization and a weak central performance, you’re emotionally disconnected from the hero, and never invested in his pain.

The film goes from a legitimate thriller to a typical revenge drama without much warning, when Abraham’s character, ACP Yashwardhan, and his anti-narcotics unit take out a major drugs kingpin in a carefully planned operation, but fail to account for his bloodthirsty brother. That vengeance-seeking sibling (played by an impressive Vidyut Jamwal) goes on an unstoppable killing spree, targeting not only the cops who finished his brother, but their wives as well.

Speaking of women, our hero initially resists the overtures of a sassy social worker (played by Genelia D’souza), but subsequently submits to her infantile charm. Like Ghajini, this film calls for you to invest in their romance so it can justify its bone-crunching, bloodsoaked climax. But unlike Tamil stars Suriya and Jyothika whose chemistry sizzled in 2003’s Kaakha Kaakha, John and Genelia at best muster up a cutesy, PG-13 romance.

The only moments that work in this film are the relentless action sequences; and while John Abraham looks good when he flexes, a little loosening up in the dramatic sequences might have helped.

I’m going with two out of five for director Nishikant Kamat’s Force. This film is brawn porn, at best.

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