An Action Hero Movie Review

Anirudh Iyer’s directorial debut features Ayushmann Khurrana as an arrogant superstar named Maanav, whom you’d love to hate. He lives in his own world, is prone to throw tantrums and doesn’t care for the feelings of others. And since he’s got tons of money, he knows he can buy off anything, even a murder charge. His world comes crashing down when he accidentally kills the younger brother of gangster turned politician Bhoora Solanki (Jaideep Ahlawat). Bhoora is more arrogant than Maanav, is more ruthless and doesn’t mind actually killing everyone who gets in his way. Maanav escapes to London thinking that he’d be safe there but Bhoora lands up there and starts a killing spree. Now, Maanav has to become an action hero in real life in order to save his life.

The film is cleverly written. It serves us twists and turns admiringly well. The insider jokes are a hoot. The arrogance of a superstar is on point. So is his attempt at being a method actor in an action film. He gives take after take to get the look right, and the directors and others play along, as who’d antagonise an action star. He’s an ego monster used to having people around him bowing down to his needs and gets a rude shock when real bullets start flying. He knows he can’t bribe his way out of trouble in a foreign country. Media and its hunger for TRPs is hugely made fun of in the film. The antics of several popular news anchors are mimicked and a montage of anchors and reporters going crazy by the day as hunt for Maanav goes on keeps you in splits. The film industry is a fickle place and it’s shown how those fawning around him abruptly cut ties when Maanav is portrayed as a villain by the media. The industry’s links with the underworld are also touched upon as well.

Juxtaposed to the physical comedy and the satire is the ego tussle between Maanav and Bhoora. The latter can’t understand how his wrestler brother could be killed by a mere actor and he wants to exact his revenge by physically tearing the actor from limb to limb. This obsession throws them both in impossible situations and sometimes they have to unwittingly team up to get out of them. Like a proper Guy Ritchie film, the film introduces us to one colourful character after another to keep our interest piqued. The improbable situations, eccentric characters and smart, witty dialogue turn this film into a hell of a ride.

The film is shot stylistically by Kaushal Shah and editor Nirad Khanolkar has kept it fast paced. The action sequences have been filmed imaginatively as well.

Both Jaideep Ahlawat and Ayushmann Khurrana play characters who are prime examples of toxic masculinity. Both are so convinced about their world view that it takes literal hard knocks to see what’s right. The difference between them is that while Maanav learns from his mistakes and moves on, Bhoora refuses to do so. Both actors have done ample justice to their characters. While Jaideep has done similar roles before, he makes sure he brings something fresh to the film. It would have been harder for Ayushmann to play a character so out of his range so far. He has taken pains to physically transform himself for the role and gets the body language spot on. He grows into the role with every frame and by the end of the film convinces you that he’d look good doing action roles in the future.

Kudos to Anirudh Iyer for making a witty and clever film, keeping a healthy mix of satire, action and comedy to keep one entertained throughout. Cinematic liberties have been taken for sure and the treatment is definitely over the top. But as long as one keeps smiling, who’s complaining.