Only Rebel has the power to defeat flaming torches with his chest!
If you want ridonkulous action sequences and stylized hyperediting like a music video on speed, then you quickly break out some Telugu action cinema. So we did, and the film we got was Rebel, a revenge story that sadly gets a little too much flashy without backing it up. There is still some entertaining parts, but a bit of schizophrenia and pacing problems keep Rebel from becoming engaging.
Rebel seems torn as to what kind of film it is. It’s a revenge action film, no doubt, but the question is just how serious should we be taking it? Before the intermission everything seems more action comedy, but after the intermission we’ve suddenly shifted into action drama. There are even actors who only appear in certain halves of the flick to emphasize the tonal shifts (comedic actor Brahmanandam appears in the humor section, while legendary actor Krishnamraju is only after the intermission.)
Rebel suffers from not introducing who characters are before major scenes where we are supposed to care that they are in danger or are committing acts of violence. Sure, a few of them are played by famous actors who are almost always heroes or villains, so it is expected what they are doing, but it’s not the case all the time. A good film will give you just enough to connect and care about a character you don’t know before things happen, while Rebel doesn’t bother to set that up.
Needs more explosions flipping cars.
I’ll also complain about how this film treats women, because it does so very badly. There are two main women in Rebel. Nandini is the daughter of a criminal who is wooed by the hero as a ruse to get to her father. But of course she ends up falling for the hero anyway because of how awesome he is, and he ends up with her because she’s Tamannaah. Rishi wins her heart by doing the most ridiculous PUA technique I’ve seen in a film. He calls her ugly, which freaks her out so much she has a conference with all of her friends to reassure her, then spends the next few scenes trying to convince Rishi that she is attractive just to show him up that she’s attractive. Then he’s like “I was saying you were beautiful the whole time!” and she betrays her dad for him, even capturing him for torture. The other female is Deepali, who was Rishi’s great love and was murdered by the villains. She’s an orphan, and finally gets a family to belong to right before her death. Now, her character isn’t treated badly beyond being killed, but at the end of the film Nandini declares that Rishi should call her Deepali, which implies that Nandini is gone and is now playing the part of Deepali, a woman she never met, just to please her man. I find that insulting to both characters, and to the concept of grief. Yes, I’m complaining about how Rebel treats the concept of grief!
Despite the critical and TarsTarkas.NET complaints, Rebel did well at the box office because it’s designed for mass appeal. It’s got visual tricks up the wazoo, action action action, and villains who are hilariously evil. And Tamannaah. It even scored one of those rare things for Indian cinema, a BluRay DVD that doesn’t look terrible (except the moving watermark!) Eega got robbed.
It’s called symbolism, people!