Reviewing the Reviews: Race2

28 Jan,2013


Key Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Deepika Padukone, John Abraham, Jacqueline Fernandez, Anil Kapoor, Ameesha Patel

Written By: Shiraz Ahmed

Directed By: Abbas-Mustan

Produced By: Ramesh Taurani, Ronnie Screwvala, Siddharth Roy Kapur


It’s not often that a big budget, star cast film, made by the successful ‘director duo’ Abbas Mustan gets the critics to collectively sneer at it. Their films have always been high on style and low on substance, but with Race 2 this imbalance is even more pronounced, because the content is practically non-existent.


So early in the year, a film already listed as one the worst of 2013… and there’s 11 months still to go.


Race 2 got mostly 2 or 2.5 star ratings, except for TOI’s standard 3.


Shubhra Gupta of The Indian Express commented, “There are often good reasons why retreads do not reach the same level as the original. In 2008, Race gave us bad guys and very bad girls who used bronzers and booze as lethal weapons, and Abbas Mustan managed to make of that mix a slick thriller. Five years later, we have a sequel, and it’s all so been there-seen that-so-what, that Race 2 just passes in front of our eyes without registering.


Anupama Chopra of Hindustan Times quipped, “Race 2 is essentially a big-budget cartoon in which coolness is all. The director duo Abbas-Mustan (this is how they credit themselves) have no pretensions about what they are making – full-on masala with a dash of revenge, a slice of heist and characters who are either strutting their chiselled bodies in slow motion or betraying each other. The frame is crowded with good-looking people, mouth-watering cars, casinos, gargantuan hotels, planes and yachts. The money being tossed around is, and I hope you’re sitting down for this, 15 billion Euros. It’s the good life, and because this is a comic book, there are no consequences.”


Vinayak Chakravorty of India Today wrote, “Look hot, act cool, fight tough. When it comes to action thrillers, Abbas-Mustan obviously stick to that brief while instructing their cast. The idea has clicked for the director duo for years though they fell flat with Players last year.


Abbas-Mustan never believed in giving much of a brief to their writers, though. In most cases the script has indulgent winks at a foreign hit or two, suitably altered for desi tastes. Smart packaging and an engaging narrative style do the rest of the trick. Race 2 sticks to these basics, except the part about engaging storytelling.”


Saibal Chatterjee of was scathing, “Race 2 proves how difficult it can be for a producer to let go of an idea that yielded a box-office bonanza the first time around. The makers of this film obviously haven’t heard of, or do not believe in, the law of diminishing returns. Race 2 isn’t so much a sequel as an ill-advised rehash. Revenge, one character says, is a dish best served cold. Ideas, for sure, aren’t best served stale. This is the second year in succession after 2012’s Players that Abbas-Mustan have the honour of unleashing the first Bollywood biggie of the year. Race 2, like Players, is big only on nausea-inducing clatter.”


Madhureeta Mukherjee of the Times of India was relatively kind. “Get ready for jobs that ‘blow’, bare bods, chains, fists, fruits (of passion) et al. Kinky, huh? Not really. This is what goes into a high-flying, testosterone ride called Race 2, where everything blows up – from beastly cars to bronzed beautism. Macho men dive into mid-air and cars casually fly. The men are smart, but their gizmos are smarter. The women are ‘haute’, but mean machines give them a run for their curves. Such is this race of brawn and biceps (with limited brain power).”


Janhavi Samant of Mid-day lists the defects thus, “Performances, phew, the film has more close-ups of cars than faces, so the less said the better. Fancy cars whiz past at high speed, alpha men charge and swagger ahead of exploding cars in slow-motion, men and women show off their sculpted bodies while coming out of the sea, or women in bold, bright red lipstick and nailpaint dressed for the ramp, even in a bedroom romp, and everyone talks about some billion-trillion-gazillion Euros worth of deals in vain – Race 2 is a bimbo film, all horsepower, no brainpower.”


Karan Anshuman of Mumbai Mirror wrote tongue-in-cheek, “Here’s the plot: A is rich, B is rich, C is very rich. There are girls attached to all: secretary, sister, girlfriend: D, E, F (no, they’re not one person). These are all Indians in Turkey giving you the impression that they run the country. There’s also some action in Italy and since Abbas-Mustan shot that bit in front of Istanbul’s world-famous landmark Ayasofya, you get a good picture of how smart the filmmakers think you are.”


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