Story by Siddharth Anand and Aditya Chopra
Screenplay by Shridhar Raghavan
Additional Dialogue by Abbas Tyrewala
Directed by Siddharth Anand
Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff team up on the big screen for the first time to both fight alongside and against each other in War! What we get is a Mission: Impossible style masala flick that entertains with plenty of action with a ridiculous story stringing it all together. But the story is secondary, the spectacle and attraction is seeing your heroes Hrithik and Tiger run around together and causing trouble, both against villains and against each other. There is plenty of trouble, plenty of trials, and plenty of heart-pounding fighting as the two leads face off in an action movie storm.
It opens with Kabir (Hrithik Roshan) going rogue and killing his contact, so the hammer of the Indian intelligence services are brought in to smash him down. His former mentee Khalid (Tiger Shroff) is not tasked with bringing him down at first (they feel he’s too close) but at Kabir sets his sights on more high-profile targets, it soon becomes apparent that Khalid is the only hope they got.
Interspersed with this are several flashback stories where we learn that Khalid’s father was a traitor, that his own family turned him in, and that Kabir was the man who put (several!) bullets in his head. That’s why Kabir doesn’t trust Khalid to be part of his super special forces team at first. Khalid has been spending his whole career trying to escape the shadow of his father, and also spends long minutes gazing longingly at Kabir when he’s doing his cool main character struts that are fairly common in high-profile action films. At this point men fighting as brothers and homoeroticism has smeared together to the point where you’re free to pick your own interpretations. Khalid proves his worth by killing a bunch of ISIS goons and soon Khalid and Kabir are dancing it up in celebration. At least we’ve found one thing war is good for, dance parties!
A mission to capture Kabir’s (and India’s) nemesis goes bad, soon most of the team is dead and Kabir then goes rogue in what is obviously an attempt to take this guy down via killing powerful people in the government who are on the payroll and running interference. Of course, if Kabir is captured, the villain wins, and we can’t have that, so things soon come crashing to a head. There’s also a related backstory with Kabir romancing a lady (Vaani Kapoor) who is also the object of desire of a bad person, because we can’t forget Mission: Impossible 2. (She also gets fridged, which is sort of lazy motivation at this point, especially with Kabir already having plenty of reasons for wanting to take the villain down!)
The action sequences are great and seem right out of a Hollywood film. Some of them borrow more than a bit from Hollywood films (both superhero and not), but things get all mashed together and full of fun inventiveness to make them all unique. They brought in some help for the action directors, including Paul Jennings and SeaYoung Oh. There are stunts on the ground, in the air (even outside the plane), while falling from the plane, across the arctic ice, and the required motorcycles. The plane sequence is great just because so few films have done enough fights with a plane crashing out of the sky.
I fully admit that Hrithik Roshan was the only one of the two stars I was familiar with going into this, thanks to his work in the Krrish films. He’s Indian movie royalty from both sides. He seemingly spent his whole childhood training to be a superstar, even overcoming a stutter. Now he’s one of the top players and pulling off the shots where he looks cool are just second nature. One of the stories I’ve heard about him is that he uses a different brand of cologne for each character he plays, only for that character. No clue what Kabir was rocking in this film, any guesses?
Tiger Shroff shines most brightly in his lone musical number (with Hrithik Roshan) as they celebrate a mission’s success. His leaps are very dance, and you see him leaping in the same dance style during a lot of the action sequences. This makes sense, at they are just a choreographed. Director Siddharth Anand is also tackling the Rambo remake starring Tiger Shroff, so maybe we’ll see Rambo doing ballet leaps while machine gunning down hundreds of enemies. And quite frankly, that sounds like it will rule!
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