Shershaah

What is the movie about? :: Vikram Batra (Sidharth Malhotra) had always wanted to be part of the military force, and achieves the same dream many years after he started thinking about the same. He has been someone who remained strong from childhood itself. He gets assigned to keeping an eye on the terrorist activities in the border area of Jammu and Kashmir area. Things seem safe and under control when he goes there, but as expected, there is always more than what meets the eye as far going close to the borders is concerned. They come against the first group of terrorists quick enough, and Vikram is blamed for not following the orders by Captain Sanjeev Jamwal (Shiv Pandit), even though everything ends perfectly. But Sanjeev still thanks him for saving his life in the process and making sure that the fight ended with them on the winning side, with no casualties at all – they end up being very good friends.

So, what happens with the events here? :: At the same time, there is something more terrifying going on in the background, with acts of terrorism ready to come across the border, and part of it also having roots already. At the same time, there is a flashback of the soldier’s life when he was at his earlier ages. While studying in Punjab University, he had fallen in love with Dimple Cheema (Kiara Advani), who hadn’t noticed him earlier, but had later gone to become his fiance. She had managed to get approval from her father only by telling him that if she won’t get to marry him, she will never marry anyone in her life. He also feels that he should join merchant navy instead of army to get a better salary so that he can get Dimple’s father to agree, but moves back on the same because his dream still drives him forward. She decides to wait for him, as he goes to be part of the army, and she would make sure that there are no more possible alliances being discussed at home.

And what more is to follow around here? :: Back at the camp, there seems to be many battles going on, and not just the small infiltration by the small scale terrorists. Vikram is quick to establish himself as a skilled soldier, and he is also good friends with the local people of Kashmir, due to which some people agree to become informers for him. He is also in charge of some risky operations in the process. There is also a bigger battle in store, as the Kargil War is about the begin. Despite being able to go back home on leave, Vikram has to return very soon, and join his team. Vikram is not someone who would stand back, and it seems that the enemy is crossing all limits, forcing them to quicken their actions. It would be a war which was to decide the future concerning two nations, as well as Kashmir, and the question remains about what is to follow in this for Vikram, as people back at home continue to worry. And then, there are more tales to come.

The defence of Shershah :: When we have war tributes in here, there was always something for us to watch, and this one also stays close to that idea. We also need acts of bravery to keep our world intact. There are some fine actions here which will be remembered, and are going to stay in our memory for the best. The combat scenes are all good, and there is something for our patriotic hearts, which stay on after the film ends too. The emotional side also remains strong, and we feel as part of the moments which the soldiers live through. It is always nice to have good movies dealing with the characters and subject. There are also some visuals of the world around them which never ceases to show the beauty of Kashmir. Along with the same, there is also the war during which the newer generation needs a reminder because even we were too young during the situation in Kargil, or were not born yet – we do get a reminder. You are always happy, and often in bliss to get the same in the name of the country.

The claws of flaw :: When we consider this movie as a work about a war hero, it could have been much more, with better elements of realism having scope to be present. After all, we have had many war movies before, not just in Bollywood, but also in Hollywood, even those works which were awarded well nationally and internationally. The background story, especially the love story remains too weak, and the same adds as an unnecessary part to an otherwise straightforward story of bravery in the border. Focusing on the romantic angle with songs never get old, and as far as love and songs being inserted somewhere when it should be kept at minimum, there is nobody in the whole world matching Bollywood. We do have the predictable moments in here too, and the film chooses not to go for innovation, going through the safe paths rather than anything else. The dramatic moments could also make way for more realistic style in comparison. There were immense possibilities regarding the same too, and there are moments which remind us of the same.

Performers of the soul :: Sidharth Malhotra handles things right, and he has blended into this role quite well too. This is a different kind of role compared to the type of roles in which I had seen him before. He looks very good in this role, and he is even more than that. In the scenes of war, he does the best, and he gets to be inspirational in the display. Kiara Advani is pretty good in what she does, but the love story is rather weak, and not that much suitable in the totality of the scheme of things. She could have got a better role if it was the college time period being shown with less focus on the romantic side, but romance always comes out of somewhere in these films, and that will continue to be the greatest cliché of all time. The other performers are also good, but they don’t really get that much to do. Shiv Pandit is the one who gets our attention the best among them, and there are a few more actors playing the soldiers that have something in here.

How it finishes :: It is always good to provide some tributes to the war heroes, and in doing the same, Shershaah does succeed. The movie still didn’t have that much of a promotion as Toofaan had in this part of India, and that is a shame, because the film should have released with more people knowing about its presence on Amazon Prime Video, the OTT platform which most people uses around here. Still, they would sooner or later understand that this is an interesting, as well as entertaining war drama. There is also a strong emotional side to the same. Being a tribute to the brave soldier who was awarded with the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest military decoration, the great award for valour, for his actions during the 1999 Kargil War, the film has those perfect moments which will work for the patriot among us. You can never have enough of films on our soldiers, and we pay our respect to the man of valour. Therefore, we watch this movie on Amazon Prime Video, and stay safe from COVID-19 for now. Happy Independence Day and Happy Onam in advance.

Release date: 12th August 2021 (Amazon Prime Video)
Running time: 134 minutes
Directed by: Vishnuvardhan
Starring: Sidharth Malhotra, Kiara Advani, Shiv Pandit, Jaaved Jaaferi, Nikitin Dheer, Himmanshoo A Malhotra, Anil Charanjeett, Shataf Figar, Sahil Vaid, Raj Arun

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Fast and Furious 7

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Vampire Owl :: Its been quite a long time after the release. What took you this many days to watch this one?

Vampire Bat :: I just couldn’t get the tickets, even at the more local theatres where audience usually avoid the English movies.

Vampire Owl :: I thought so. After all, this was a much expected movie of the year, not as much as Jupiter Ascending for you, but still you seemed to avoid this one.

Vampire Bat :: I waited for the queue almost everyday for the first show, but couldn’t manage to get a ticket, only now I managed it now because they changed this movie to the bigger movie hall switching places with the other one.

Vampire Owl :: Well, there were other ways, but I know that the Vampire Bat never do a ticket reservation. He just stands in the queue everyday.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, all this for the privilege of watching this movie with such an audience who turns into chaotic people when the lights are switched off.

Vampire Owl :: The darkness of the theatre is scary, I mean it is not even the real darkness but created by man.

Vampire Bat :: It is a dangerous place indeed; strange beasts roam around, some of them howl, others whistle and few others talk in a language which comes out as abuse.

Vampire Owl :: So, it has worsened. This is why we should watch movies more at home rather than anywhere else.

Vampire Bat :: Yes, but I have already watched this one and is ready with the review.

[Leaves for the tea shop].

What is it about? :: With Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) and his team defeated, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his crew might have thought that life was going to get simple and without problems, but they were wrong. It comes to light that the old villain had an older brother, Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) who hopes and strives for revenge on the crew who put his brother in a terrible position, and for him, vengeance is beyond that word – he is like a man custom made for things like these. After Han-Seoul-Oh (Sung Kang) is killed, a bomb explodes which puts Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) and Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) as well as their child in a precarious situation, and the protagonist decides to take things into his own hands. After the funeral of Han, the team will return for their final mission, but that won’t start with the attempt on taking the big Shaw down; there will be more to it.

The defence of Fast and Furious 7 :: The action is fast and furious, thus posing no scope to bring any challenge to the name of this movie. The movie is more action than any other element, and wastes no time in getting to it; the vengeance element stays strong and so does the tendency for turning into a heist movie in parts. The comic side also work, just at times. The cast stays strong, and the power of the action sequences can never be questioned. There are also some free lessons for Bollywood if they are making any disgusting sequels to Krrish or Dhoom – they should learn something and not copy – don’t go down to the abyss while making the next movie in one of these two ridiculous sequels.

The claws of flaw :: We can’t have this one at the top if we consider the other movies of this genre or those of the same franchise. The transformation into a full action movie with revenge as central theme might bother some fans, and this one is also free of any possible racing elements which some people might have wanted. The action sequences do ask for a lot of willing suspension of disbelief, even more than you used to do, with this franchise. May be there was the need to set a limit, but being fast and furious should go beyond the limits, if we go into deeper thoughts about it. Another problem might be about the story going predictable, but that also just comes with this one.

Performers of the soul :: The movie is a fine tribute to Paul Walker, and it was good to watch him doing what he always did the best. We will surely miss him if a sequel or a reboot for this series will ever come to us. Vin Diesel is fine as usual and continues his good run in the series even though I have always liked him more in Riddick as the titular character. Still the best moments of the movie goes to Dwayne Johnson who has more awesome seconds in the beginning and end, making so strong an impact. You will know that he is the one true cavalry. Jason Statham wasn’t that much of an interesting villain here as expected, even though he does deliver a punch or rather a number of them. I would say that a different “type” was needed here with the character. Nathalie Emmanuel looked amazingly good in the movie, and was a very nice addition to this one.

Soul exploration :: This certainly works as that wonderful tribute to Paul Walker as his final movie. There are some very nice stunts featuring him, and the final few scenes which provides a beautiful farewell to him. This was never going to be an easy job after his demise, but they have surely managed well. Once again, the movie itself is all about family and brotherhood – something that continues with the same power. Fast and Furious 7 has its heart and soul right there. The emotional moments are all about supporting the same, and there is very fine success there. There is something clearly for the soul there, and it feels so good.

How it finishes :: Fast and Furious 7 is that movie which had a wonderful reception here, far beyond the expectations. I waited so long to get a ticket not in the malls, but at those local theatres, and finally got lucky on a Thursday just because the movie was changed to a bigger movie hall. This is actually expected to do more here, as it is the final movie Paul Walker, and the cast includes people like Dwyane Johnson the Rock, Vin Diesel and Jason Statham. Yes, add them to the cars and we have a lot for the audience here. The next week also has some holidays in the form of Ambedkar Jayanthi and Vishu, and after the big Easter weekend success, this will only earn a lot more, and may be go on to become the biggest grossing Hollywood movie at this part of the world.

Release date: 2nd April 2015 (India); 3rd April 2015 (US)
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: James Wan
Starring: Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges, Kurt Russell, Jason Statham, Tony Jaa, Djimon Hounsou, Ronda Rousey, Nathalie Emmanuel, Elsa Pataky, John Brotherton, Ali Fazal, Noel Gugliemi

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Brick Mansions

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Action promised and provided :: This movie had given me the feeling that it is the last time I should be seeing Paul Walker on the big screen (pending what is to come in Fast & Furious 7, of course). Here, what seems to be a higher rating for some of those who have watched this movie is more of the result of my personal admiration for the actor and of course considering the fact that how well the movie has delivered what it had promised. This is the English remake of one of the most admired action movies of the 2000s, the French flick, District 13 – released in 2004 and not many moments without me hearing something about it whenever action movies were mentioned. There was absolutely no doubt about which movie I was to watch this weekend, thanks to Brick Mansions. I haven’t watched the original yet, and I guess that helps to like this movie much better. To add to it, Brick Mansions is a movie completely set in the future, and a situation which a dystopia. Thus, even though not focused, I would say that it not short of its themes. But, as there is no real surprise, the movie depends a lot on its action sequences and breath-taking stunts, something which hasn’t been this efficiently used for quite a long time. So here is the much awaited movie for the fans of the genre.

What is it about? :: The setting is the dystopian Detroit, in the distant future, when the brick mansions of the city become home to the city’s biggest criminals. In a complete absence of law and order and the ever increasing power of the criminal gangs, the police is forced to construct a containment wall outside the area so that nobody comes in or goes out unnoticed. The people inside the containment are separated from the rest, and this is hailed as an innovative and effective step to prevent the normal citizens of the city who live outside the Brick Mansions. To that situation comes Damien Collier (Paul Walker) who is attempting to free the city of crime and corruption, and also have revenge on the man who killed his father, as he remains an undercover cop. Meanwhile, Lino Dupree (David Belle) is a man different from the others in Brick Mansions, attempting to live a good life and hoping to prevent the community from degrading further into chaos. As his girlfriend Lola (Catalina Denis), working as a waiter in a restaurant is kidnapped by the drug lord to get even with him who causes troubles for their illegal business, he combines forces with Damien who is looking forward to settle scores with the same man – Tremaine Alexander (RZA).

The defence of Brick Mansions :: The movie has Paul Walker in his last movie doing a wonderful job, David Belle with his great acrobatics and the beautiful Catalina Denis getting to take part in some action too. You have to love the aerial shots of the area. Then there are the action sequences which are lead by David Belle, master of the art of parkour. We get into the action right in the beginning itself as he runs, climbs, rolls, swings and jumps to avoid the guys chasing him, and at the same time, beating up anyone who comes in direct contact with him. He is easily identified as the one to look out for. There is the need not to drag, and having the action sequences at most priority as far as movies like this are concerned, because that is what the viewers expect and that is what the movie delivers. There is no dull moment in this movie, and there are a few lighter scenes too despite the total nature of the movie. But at the same time, the theme of dystopia is not abandoned, and it exists with the car chases, shooting and melee combat scenes. The setting of the movie plays a big part in defining the progress. Brick Mansions is a great way to remember Paul Walker, even as it won’t create any magic like the Fast and Furious franchise did.

Claws of flaw :: Finding fault with this movie might be rather too easy, and it is evident from a good number of negative reviews. There haven’t been many action movies which got the critical appreciation that they deserved. The first major assault on this movie might be about it being a little too unrealistic and not trying to be smart enough. Yes, Brick Mansions might not be smart and surely not original considering that it is a remake, and unrealistic as a whole. But unlike some of the other movies, for example, Transcendence, this movie doesn’t try to make the claim or does it try to look realistic when it is not really that. I would have liked to have a better twist added to the movie’s ending, not as part of finding fault, but making it better. Then you are welcome to feel that the plot is a little predictable, but that should happen because this is the remake of that older movie. It could have been a better allegory given its setting. Something to ponder over in the middle of those action sequences wouldn’t have hurt much, after all the action sequences seems to have come naturally to all the actors and actresses involved with the scenes. The movie might feel a little bit like a video game for a few, with so much of non-stop action involved, but this is not made for such people.

Performers of the Soul :: Paul Walker remains charming and the more silent assassin in this movie, as he is wonderful in this performance too. He is like a more human version of Judge Dredd with all the simplicity. He has less action sequences to perform than David Belle who starts with the action sequences right from the beginning, being the more aggressive and a lot more acrobatic of the two. He played the same character in the original, and has come up with a breath-taking performance in this one, as far as action sequences are concerned. Meanwhile, RZA make a fine dystopian villain, even as the element of evil is rather weak except for shooting his own people and threatening to launch a rocket towards the city. In being evil, Ayisha Issa plays his sidekick and overtakes him in being bad, whether in her sadness in not getting to kill Lino or to murder millions by destroying the city or whether it is in tormenting the kidnapped Lola, her character becomes the bigger villain. Catalina Denis is gorgeous as Lola and the best thing about her is that she comes up with some sylish action sequences of her own, when not being beaten up by the lady villain. I hope we see a lot more from the beautiful and talented Colombian actress in future.

Soul exploration :: Brick Mansions might seem to give nothing to think about, for most of its viewers, but the movie has its own versions of the abuse of power which the men with power exert on the marginalized, and also that division of people which has made the situation more suitable for a dystopian government. There is too much inequality, and Lino’s attempt to become a better man in a society of crime which is rather helped by the containment walls would rather land him in prison and his girlfriend in the captivity of his enemies. There will always be more than one kind of people in all sides, both good and evil, and also grey. There will always be angels, fallen angels and the demons, and it is an inescapable fact of life. Containment walls were never supposed to be a solution. If people can’t change, there is no point in exile, and the government’s choice of dividing its own people instead of attempting fight crime in an efficient manner will finally go against itself, as depicted against the movie. There will sometimes be heroes who help the process, and otherwise it is just pain luck that goes against the oppression. The movie’s heroes have their own beliefs only to be tricked by the dystopian environment that is around them.

How it finishes :: Here is what might be your last chance to see Paul Walker on the big screen, and you won’t wish to miss it. But it does deserve to be seen for its action sequences too, as far as you can enjoy them without thinking about how something was possible and what is the logic behind the same. After that scene in which David Belle is running away in the beginning, a few other interesting sequences include Paul Walker teaming up with him to beat up a much stronger man, the two car chasing scenes, Catalina Denis’ fight with Ayisha Issa and the final dealing of her lady foe problem and Paul’s early drug bust (that shouldn’t lead to the underestimation of the other fight scenes though). This should be the week of Brick Mansions, thanks to Transcendence being bad and no big Hollywood release here this weekend. Even the regional movie releases haven’t worked that well. Most of you do need to watch Brick Mansions for those reasons, and I have a feeling that even those who don’t want might just end up watching it. If this can’t convince you, there is still the original District 13 with the subtitles to be watched, and I hope that you get the taste of it in one way or the other.

Release date: 25th April 2014
Running time: 90 minutes
Directed by: Camille Delamarre
Starring: Paul Walker, David Belle, Catalina Denis, RZA, Ayisha Issa, Robert Maillet, Carlo Rota, Kwasi Songui

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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.