Rocky Handsome full movie review - Rocky Handsome Review: The action rocks with some heart to boot
Reviewed by: Dare Devil Kid (DDK)
Rating: 3.4/5 stars
Biff?! Bang?! Boom...!...goes John Abraham for the most part of Rocky Handsome, and in the course of all the mayhem on screen, he sets our pulses racing and heartbeats thumping. This has got to be one of the slickest action movies, with some of the best fight scenes ever made in Bollywood. John plays an ex-RAW agent in the movie, who used to be the best and most badass agent of his time, and it's evident that the filmmakers have taken every ounce of effort to make his action scenes realistically deadly and brutally intimidating to suit his character, which ultimately play a huge part in getting the tone and intensity of the film right.
However, the action isn't the sole contributing factor to getting that tone and intensity spot-on for most of the movie. Rocky Handsome is an out-an-out action film no doubt, but it's one of those rare action spectacles that don't feel the necessity to shred their emotions to show their strength. In other words, the action is mixed with plenty of heart to set it apart from just another routine punches-and-kicks movie solely meant to satiate action junkies. There's something for everyone, and those looking for a sensible plot with strong characterization won't be disappointed. John's arc flows along nicely and his transformations and backstory do justice to his role.
The other actor whose character arc will leave you rooted to your seat and rooting for her is Diya Chalwad as Naomi. Her innocence and cute gestures will tug at your heart strings to the point that you'd be hoping with all your will that not even a hair on her body is hurt. Naomi's abduction by a deadly drug cartel in Goa is what brings John out of hibernation and sets him on a path of rampage. It's her character that causes all the conflict in the film and transitions in the narrative, which makes Diya's act all the more commendable, and Director Nishikant Kamat's job of handling this kid nothing short of spectacular. She's literally the axis along which John's every decision and our entire focus revolves.
Speaking about performances, Kamat is a revelation in his acting debut, and makes us wonder why he didn't try his hand in front of the camera before. He plays the leading baddie, Kevin Pereira, with just the right amount of menace, coldness, and cowardice as the role demands. The same however can't be said for Tandy Murdal, who plays his brother and second-in-command. He's every bit as over-the-top as Kamat is restrained, and his overacting gets so annoying after a point that you wish his character dead not because he's villainous, but simply because his presence distracts your viewing experience. Ditto for Nathalia Kaur as Naomi's mother, Anna, who emotes and mouths dialogues with the same expressions that someone would make upon being forced to devour a plate of rancid meat. Sharad Kelkar and the other supporting actors are pleasant on the eye.
But enough about the heart and the feelings; at the end of the day Rocky Handsome is an action film, and every action fan who craves for good, realistic action movies in Bollywood (quite a rarity) needs to watch it. If John is seen as a powerhouse who can clear hordes of baddies, it's because the martial arts choreography (a combination of Aikido, Krav Maga, Muay Thai, and Judo) is meticulously crafted, and cinematographer Shankar Raman's somber and brooding frames elevate the dark, morbid mood of the film. Mind you, some scenes are excessively violent, so be sure you have the stomach to watch them. The film has been officially adapted from the terrific 2010 Korean movie, The Man from Nowhere, and it's more than a worthy remake because it carves its own identity by tweaking the story in several places while also paying respect to the original by retaining its core essence.
If it wasn't for the songs that stick out like a sore thumb and end up distracting the story at crucial junctures, I'd have given the movie an even higher rating. And, to our dismay, these sore thumbs are one too many to be ignored and they detract quite a bit from the actual story. Also, John's flashback scenes with his deceased wife (Shruti Haasan) are overcooked and don't evoke the same pathos as his equation with Naomi. Additionally, Kamat's direction while otherwise crisp commits the error of wrapping certain things too neatly and spoon-feeding the audience. It's time our Directors respected our deduction capabilities and treated us with the same maturity as western audiences are. Such sore-points while minor are hard to overlook, and end up slotting the film in a rung below some of Bollywood's greatest action films like Baby, Khakee, and Pukar.
Nevertheless, Rocky Handsome is still one wholly entertaining, exhilarating, bloody joyride that demands to be seen on the big screen. The knife-fight scene in the climax alone is worth the price of admission.