Rocky Handsome is exactly what one might describe as a vanity project. The film, produced by and starring John Abraham, appears to have made for the sole purpose of showcasing the 43-year-old actor’s nifty fighting skills…and his chiseled physique, which the camera lovingly lingers over repeatedly.
The plot is threadbare, although the film is an official remake of a violent Korean hit, The Man From Nowhere. John stars as Kabir Ahlawat, aka Rocky, a highly trained assassin, and he spends most of his screen time slicing and dicing and stabbing and pummeling his way through an army of bad guys.
But when we first meet him, he’s running a pawnshop in Goa, his sullen expression softening only for the precocious kid next door (Diya Chalwad) whom he’s developed a soft spot for. When the little tyke is kidnapped on account of her mother’s run in with local drug lords, our hero comes out of a self-imposed exile and goes into lean-mean-killing-machine mode, single-handedly taking on a battery of villains.
The evil kingpins here, a pair of sadistic brothers named Luke and Kevin Ferreira, are drug and organ traffickers, but frankly they’re too buffoonish to inspire any dread. The film’s director Nishikant Kamat plays the lesser annoying of these two supposedly sinister siblings, although that’s not saying much.
Kamat, who has become something of a ‘remake specialist’ in Bollywood having last adapted Force and Drishyam from South Indian hits, fails to adapt the essence and the spirit of the original Korean film to this copy-paste hack job. This is lazy filmmaking of the highest order, and the only thing that deserves any mention are the relentlessly violent but riveting action scenes, including a few stylishly shot rain sequences.
John Abraham performs these portions convincingly. He’s in beast mode for the bulk of the film, and there’s a strange thrill in watching him dispatch the bad guys systematically. He’s sincere even in the quieter bits with the little girl next door, but eventually let down by the corny dialogue and a script that’s steeped in cliché, right down to the assassin’s tragic back-story.
I’m going with a generous two out of five for Rocky Handsome.