Verdict: Unashamed, slick, in-your-face action flick
One thing Rocky Handsome will not let you miss is the loud message that this one comes “from the director of Force and Drishyam”. With particular reference to the John Abraham-starrer Force, here comes another action treat from the same club that saw Abraham and director Nishikant Kamat team up in 2011.
The tattoos are gone and Abraham is no longer throwing motorcycles around but you have the very lean, muscular, stylish actor back on screen powering through everybody in his way.
Rocky Handsome is the story of a trained assassin (John Abraham) who has given up his killing ways and lives a lonely life brooding over his past running a pawn shop in Goa. Except the name of his shop – KA Pawn Shop, there are no hints dropped that the one responding to “Handsome” was once “Kabir Ahlawat Codename Rocky”. Handsome has no friends and he doesn’t need any either. His neighbor, a little kid called Naomi (Diya Chalwad) who under normal circumstances must be treated for kleptomania, persistently though vies for his attention and friendship. Needless to say, she gets it in the little time Handsome has while moping over his tragic past.
It isn’t too long when Handsome’s only friend is whisked away by the baddies. Handsome strikes a deal with the kidnappers in exchange for Naomi and her mother’s lives and soon realizes he has been set up for a world of trouble. You don’t do that with Kabir Ahlawat Codename Rocky because you then get what follows – a world of pain that Handsome is more than happy to deliver.
Rocky Handsome makes no bones about being a two-hour-long tale of unabashed action. There is gore, trigger-happy people and lot of stabbing. The stabbing part is important because there are some very cool fight sequences featuring lethal knives. There is even a part where a goon decides to throw away his gun and pull out his knife for a fight-to-the-finish with Handsome. Too bad he wasn’t familiar with Handsome’s knife-wielding skills.
The film’s merit lies in its action and Kamat uses it to level max. No stone seems to have been left unturned in choreographing the fights. The film features Indonesian, Malaysian and Chinese martial art forms that are a treat to watch. Abraham himself looks completely at ease pulling off some neat hand-to-hand combat sequences.
The film soundtrack deserves a favorable mention although the few songs in the movie besides the one Rocky Handsome opens with distract. The background score also tends to get a little too dramatic
Rocky Handsome overall looks a movie that is slick. However, there are way too many things happening at the same time. The jumps between Handsome’s past and present are not very ably handled and gets overwhelming after a point. Also, not too much time has been spent developing the characters and their relationships. For example, it is a tad too much to be convinced that only after the little time Naomi and Handsome spend together, the latter is all set to go on a murderous rampage for her. The excessive time devoted to Rocky Handsome’s back story could have been better done.
The performances are not much to speak about. Having said that, this is not a movie that rides on performances anyway. Abraham for the better part of the films looks expressionless, even for a person baying for blood. However, the efforts he puts in looking fit and good for the role shows. Shruti Haasan who plays Ahlawat’s wife Rukshida appears only in flashback but does not fail to look stunning. Kamat who himself plays Ahlawat’s prime adversary, Kevin attempts a sincere job although there are moments one wonders if he is trying too hard.
While Rocky Handsome is an official remake of a South Korean film – The Man From Nowhere, there are ample tributes one will find in the movie made to the Denzel Washington-starrer Man on Fire and of course, Liam Neeson in Taken; the former contributing to the plot and the latter to the stylized action.
Rocky Handsome as much as it achieves what it sets out to be – an all-out action thriller will be far from being counted among Kamat’s best works.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
If stylish action movies are your jam, surely give Rocky Handsome a shot. The movie rides high and proud on the action content and it has every reason to do so. John Abraham fans do not need to be told that this one can’t be missed.