Never have I agreed with movie critics as much as I agree with them on RACE 3. But never has a mainstream big budget Indian movie been so terrible before! I cannot stay quite any longer. Something must be said!! Everything from the acting to the action was less than rudimentary. I have seen better action films made by people on the social video app Musical.ly. Even RGV’s Aag had its redeeming qualities. This is what happens when in an attempt to create some semblance of swagger in their film, the makers gloss over everything essential to filmmaking.
The script feels like there wasn’t even a first draft but rather just a scribble on a piece of paper, on which more scribbles were added. A child’s grade school project put together at the last minute probably flows better than the story here. Now twists and turns are a staple of the Race series. The difference is that the first two were handled by the masters of twists, the director duo Abbas-Mastan. They knew show much to tell the audience and how much to leave out, so the reveal works. Even in their exposition heavy scripts there was a sense of character development and a fluid narrative. Here the reveals were powerless and the twists illogical.
When it comes to cinematography, it was commonplace. Take some amazing shots of amazing exotic locales (a Race series trademark) and sprinkle them with some fast-paced action, or slow-motion romantic medleys. The problem here was that these shots were riddled with terrible placement and blocking. The actors felt stiff, like puppets placed in uncomfortable contortions. The one highlight of the film was the well-choreographed, briskly paced, and tightly edited sequence that introduced all the leads. The rest of the action though felt outlandish and unnecessary. It was also clear to see which were choreographed by the great Tom Struthers, of Dark Knight fame, and which were done with a desi perspective.
Usually where a film fails, a saving grace can be its music. Unfortunately, this is not one those cases. Having multiple music directors and no clear thematic consistency, the songs are forgettable save a few where with enough repetition they become palatable. Meet Bros. dance club hit “Heeriye” is one such track, that if you listen to it enough will have grooving to the fusion remix beats. However, Jam8’s recreation of what has become to be known as the Race anthem is wanting. Taking a well-known high-octane foot tapping theme, and turning it into a slow, incongruent bombardment of beats is not how you create music. After all, creating a decent rendition of Allah Duhai Hai should have been the easiest thing to achieve on this project. Where Jam 8 fails, Gurinder Seagal surprisingly succeeds in creating a Race 3 anthem with “Saansain Hui Dhuan Dhuan”. This fast-paced mix of Hindi and English rap imposed upon an electronic beat track is only heard in the background in the film but should have been their main theme. Furthermore, Salman Khan’s outing into the world of lyricists should end with this movie. He is no writer, let alone a poet.
The cherry on top of this bullshit cake, the dialogue!! Concocted of broken Hindi with sprinkles of random English lines, and a heavy dose of cringe worthy Bhojpuri, the dialogue was a poisonous cocktail of useless phrases put together in a frenzied fashion. Some will argue “man it’s a Salman movie!! Rehene de!! They are always ridiculous!” I agree, and that would have been enough for me if this had the trademarks of a Salman Khan film. Where are the memorable one liners? The punchline humor? The iconic dance moves from foot-tapping groves?? Nowhere. Therefore, even that argument fails.
I am sorry to say that any respect that Bhaijaan had acquired from his previous roles as a has been wrestler who comes back into limelight for love to the pure hearted childlike villager who could only see the good in people has been stripped away with this artificial give-no-shits performance. Sikander Singh is the shallowest, stupidest, and least developed character I think Salman has ever portrayed. From his flat pseudo-emotional speech about avenging his deceased mother to his “wierdo” relationship with Jaqueline’s one-dimensional con-woman, there is no sign of character development. No effort was made to garner any good-will for him, or any character for that matter, so that one could root for him or feel satisfied when he wins the day. What happens when you’re selfish as a filmmaker? When you produce, act, sing, and become lyricist on a project? You do none of them well. It’s a fact of life.
The makers here shamelessly depended on the star power of their lead to make the film work. Lucky for them, they succeeded! Race 3 has quickly risen to the top of the box office this past weekend. There’s no denying that Salman is a blockbuster powerhouse, and his die-hard fans will enjoy every bit of this movie. But unless you want your ears and eyes to screech with every frame then stay away!