Rajinikanth and Akshay Kumar in 2.0 (Image courtesy: Instagram)
Cast: Rajinikanth, Akshay Kumar, Amy Jackson
Director: S Shankar
Rating: 2 Stars (Out of 5)
He's back. This time around Chitti is reloaded and primed to confront a force out to eliminate mobile phones and cellular transmission towers from Tamil Nadu. The battle between good and evil, between nature and technology, plays out over two and a half hours in a zone where all dividing lines are blurred. But because the storytelling is, well, robotic, the frenetic action sequences rarely touch the heights that the flying mobiles achieve.
Eight years is a long time in the life of a movie star. But for Rajinikanth, any hiatus is only a flash. 2.0, director and co-screenwriter S Shankar's follow-up to 2010's Enthiran (Robot in Hindi), has materialised after the Tamil cinema supernova having used the break to appear in four films ( Kochadaiiyaan, Lingaa, Kabali and Kaala). It's been in the works longer than it took Dr Vaseegaran to conjure up Chitti the thinking robot, and the film and its star show signs of wear and tear.
The actor dives into the universe of the two pivotal characters with all his might. But there is a visible dip in his enthusiasm for or belief in the project. Fans sold on Rajinikanth's unrelenting starry sangfroid might therefore have reason to feel short-changed.
With Akshay Kumar, in his first-ever southern foray, exuding both star power and emotive energy in the second half in the guise of an ageing ornithologist livid at the fast depleting bird numbers, 2.0 would have been regarded as an improved, stronger version of its predecessor had the plot been a tad more convincing. Bunkum is bunkum no matter how big the bucks behind it are.
Amy Jackson in the garb of a robot at the beck and all of the protagonist is aptly mechanical but does just enough not to be swamped out of this sci-fi action film crafted primarily for Rajinikanth's larger-than-life, crowd-pleasing screen persona.<.p>
So, is the most expensive Indian film ever mounted worth all the money that has been sunk into it? It looks and sounds great for most parts. It whizzes by thanks to the breathless action and the dazzling VFX. 2.0, however, would have been a greater film had the screenplay dared to go beyond the known tricks of the genre.
A force is out to eliminate cellular telephony from the face of the earth. Mobile phone towers are being uprooted and handsets are flying off the hands of their owners. A city is in the grip of complete mayhem. The good scientist is roped in to stop the impending calamity. He advises bringing Chitti back from his moribund state. That, he says, is the only way to fight off the new menace.
The good versus evil tropes that 2.0 employs are trite, but the battle at the heart of the film – it pits a warped model if development against in the need for ecological conservation in a no-holds-barred fantasy – has moments that are thought-provoking and entertaining at once. But even for Rajinikanth, pulling this erratic epic out of the fire is no cakewalk.
(This is a short review. Please check again in some time for the full review)