REVIEW: ‘Race 2’ – A Well Packaged Box, Hollow Inside

Race 2: After a two and a half hour marathon, when you finally see the finish line, it’s a race to reach the cinema exit!
Race 2: After a two and a half hour marathon, when you finally see the finish line, it’s a race to reach the cinema exit!

The sequel to director duo Abbas-Mustan’s 2008 film is plagued by the same issues as the original – length, a desperately convoluted script and its old-fashioned leaning on formulaic characters. This time the film is set almost entirely in Turkey, which, for some reason, is where a host of Indian criminals hang out.

Saif Ali Khan reprises his role as Ranveer Singh and while in the first part Ranveer and his brother Rajiv displayed a questionable fraternal love, in Race 2 the sibling rivalry plays out between Arman Malik (John Abraham) and his sister Aleena (Deepika Padukone).

Ranveer Singh is the man with the plan and he needs the risk-taking, money-loving Arman for its success. As control constantly shifts between the two key players we see that no one is really as they appear to be. There are so many twists, turns and so many knives in the back that the script is perforated like a sieve, unable to hold even the audience’s attention. Yes, my attention did often waver to Deepika Padukone’s shoes, Jacqueline Fernandez’s bracelets and the catalogue of designer sunglasses on display.

The fruit-loving RD, played by Anil Kapoor, is also back with double entendres of the fruity kind and a new bimbo assistant called Cherry (Ameesha Patel). RD plays a pivotal part in this revenge game being fought by Ranveer and Arman.

The dialogue tries too hard with clumsy puns like ‘the pillar who becomes a killer’ and ‘a toofan that becomes a tsunami’. Yawn. But the most absurd element is Ranveer’s plan to steal – of all things – the shroud of Turin! By this time I have started noticing the upholstery, the background in every scene and Jacqueline Fernandez’s very straight and long hair.

Technically, while the action scenes are well conceived, the special effects are a let down and the visuals overly colour-corrected. This is nit-picking because what ails Race 2 is much bigger — it is a well packaged box which is hollow inside. The actors rattle around in it struggling to infuse personality to two-dimensional characters. After a two and a half hour marathon, when you finally see the finish line, it’s a race to reach the cinema exit!

Rating: *1/2