DHOOM 2: BACK IN ACTION

NR

-By Ethan Alter


For movie details, please click here.

Dhoom 2: Back in Action is a sequel to the 2004 Bollywood box-office hit Dhoom, a Fast and the Furious-style actioner about rebel cop Jai Dixit (Abhishek Bachchan), who takes down a gang of motorcycle thieves with the help of a dimwitted speed demon named Ali (Uday Chopra). But don't worry if you missed that movie--much like the Fast and the Furious sequels, you don't have to have seen the original to be able to follow the later installments.

This time around, Dixit and Ali are in pursuit of an international criminal known only as Mr. A (Hrithik Roshan, taking a walk on the evil side after playing the title character in the recent superhero adventure Krrish). A master of disguise as well as well as a superb tactician and athlete, Mr. A is considered to be the "smartest and coolest" thief in the world. (One could also describe him as the most ego-driven, since he has planned all of his robberies to form the letter "A" on a map of Southeast Asia.) When Dixit's first few attempts to trap his nemesis fail, the cop drafts sexy female criminal Sunehri (Bollywood stunner Aishwarya Rai) to act as Mr. A's accomplice. Naturally, she winds up falling in love with the guy, which means it's up to Dixit and Ali to stop both crooks before they pull off their next job, stealing some rare coins from a museum in Rio de Janeiro. Never mind that Rio is technically outside of their jurisdiction...

Dhoom 2 has all of the benefits of a big-budget Bollywood production: big-name stars, exotic locales, well-produced musical numbers and elaborate (by Bollywood standards, anyway) action sequences, including a daring train robbery and an extended motorcycle chase outside of Rio. In other words, it's exactly like all of the mainstream programmers that Hollywood churns out every summer, although those movies often suffer from a conspicuous shortage of singing and dancing on DayGlo sets. (Just think of how some peppy dance numbers would have enlivened generic blockbusters like Poseidon and X-Men: The Last Stand.)

As with virtually every action movie made today, the villain proves to be far more interesting than the hero. Dixit comes across as such a humorless stick-in-the-mud, the audience can't help but root for Mr. A to keep getting away with his masterfully plotted robberies. Our allegiance is further swayed from the cop to the crook by the fact that Roshan cuts a more charismatic figure than Bachchan, a descendent of Bollywood royalty (his father is veteran superstar Amitabh Bachchan) who has yet to carve out his own onscreen identity. The other reason to look forward to Mr. A's scenes, of course, is that they allow us plenty of time to ogle Ms. Rai, who is as lovely as ever here, even though it's a difficult to buy her as an expert thief. Dhoom 2 makes no lasting contributions to world cinema, but if two-and-a-half hours of disposable entertainment are all you're after, you could do far worse.



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