Phantom Review: This Phantom Is Not Menacing Enough

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Phantom2Director Kabir Khan adapts Hussain Zaidi’s book Mumbai Avengers into a story that is a cross between D-Day and Zero Dark Thirty. In a post 26/11 world, after terrorists shattered the peace and security of India, why are the perpetrators running free? A team from within Indian agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) puts together a cover operation, using a phantom agent – who is off-the-grid – to execute a plan to summarily neutralize each of the suspects and men behind the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai.

Saif Ali Khan, a wrongly dismissed and tainted Army Officer plays Daniyal Khan, the man identified to take on a task that would require him to jet from India to London to Chicago, Syria and Pakistan. His unlikely accomplice is Nawaz, played by Katrina Kaif. Funnily, while Kabir Khan uses some real names, for example David Headley Coleman, others are changed, such as Hariz Saeed.

This is a minor issue in a story that is blotchy, and even comical at times. Its terrorism and international espionage for junior school with a been-there-seen-that feel (Bond, Bourne etc). The dialogues unashamedly jab into jingoistic fervour, with repeated shots of the Taj Mahal Hotel.

Saif Ali Khan gets a part that suits his age and experience better and while he manages to make the action scenes appear effortless, the audience never really roots for his character. Frankly any actress could have played Nawaz, and Kaif brings little to the role. As he is wont, Kabir Khan bloats up his narrative giving you more time to question the flaws in the script. The action scenes, in spite of their scale, are underwhelming in their execution. The most energetic sections come towards the end when Nawaz and Daniyal enter Pakistan for their final showdown, pieces designed to elicit hoots and whistles.

Rating: **

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