Director: Remo D’Souza
The makers of Race 3 have already declared that this is not a movie for critics. What they’re implying, predictably, is that critics are a bunch of joyless nitpickers who don’t have an appetite for any movie that delivers strictly popcorn entertainment; for any movie committed purely to taking your mind off the real world for the duration of its running time. But hey, that’s a false notion. I only have to point to the first Race from 2008, directed by Abbas-Mustan, or even to 2013’s Race 2, to make my point. They were stylishly mounted, briskly paced, twisty thrillers that delivered varying degrees of guilty pleasure and dumb fun. Race 3 does not deliver fun. Race 3 is as enjoyable as jamming your finger in a door.
Abbas-Mustan, who had a few tricks up their sleeve when it came to making slick thrillers, have been replaced by Remo D’souza who appears to be possessed by the ghost of Rohit Shetty. If you put a cost to the number of cars that are blown up in Race 3, you could feed a starving nation. Too bad big explosions and vehicular carnage can only go so far in service of a plot.
It also doesn’t help that the film is missing the superhit soundtrack that the previous installments in the franchise greatly benefitted from. And then – how does one put this politely? – there is the bargain basement ensemble hired to pad out the film alongside Salman Khan.
Salman stars as Sikander, the adopted son of big-time arms-dealer Shamsher Singh (Anil Kapoor), whose biological kids Sanjana (Daisy Shah) and Suraj (Saqib Saleem) aren’t thrilled that the bulk of his estate has been willed to Sikander. Other characters include the family’s trusted troubleshooter Yash (Bobby Deol), and Jessica (Jacqueline Fernandez), a shifty pole dancer whose romantic entanglements link her to this lot.
If you’ve ever watched a Race film you know that double-crossings and betrayal are par for the course. Partners – both in business and in love – inevitably tend to switch sides. The McGuffin here, or the object that serves as a trigger for the plot, is a hard disk with videos that expose the sexual perversions of top Indian politicians, and typically everyone wants to get their hands on it to leverage personal gain.
It’s not a particularly riveting plot, but that’s not even the biggest problem with the film. It’s that despite all the trappings – fast cars, slinky women, snazzy foreign locations, and the odd twist – Race 3 still fails to take off the ground because it’s weighed down by sheer dullness. The dullness of a cast that just doesn’t earn their slow-motion entry scenes; a cast that can’t seem to bring the pizzazz needed to carry off the film’s frankly laughable one-liners; a cast that just can’t hide the fact that they’re so grateful to be recruited for the ride.
No wonder only Anil Kapoor comes out with his dignity intact. He makes a meal out of the role, clearly enjoying himself, and single-handedly doing his bit for ‘acting’ in the film. Salman Khan is front and center of the plot, but after credible performances in both Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Sultan, this is another one of those films where the filmmakers leave everything to the superstar’s charm, his presence, and his big oiled-up physique. Sadly, it’s not enough.
To add insult to injury, the film has also been released in 3D so you could, for an extra hundred bucks or so, suffer the sheer pointlessness of this movie in an extra, bonus dimension. Go on, you must.
I’m going with one out of five for Race 3. It’s over two-and-a-half hours of complete drivel.