Rating: 6/10 (Visually Stunning yet Hollow)
Cast: Superstar Rajinikant, Akshay Kumar, Amy Jackson, Sudhanshu Pandey
Producer: A. Subaskaran
Banner: Lyca Productions
After more than a year and VFX output hell, Shankar's much waited film 2.0 has seen the light to day. Touted as a spiritual successor rather than a direct sequel to Enthiran, the film features Rajinikant and Amy Jackson in the lead roles while having Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar in the role of the antagonist. Does the film live up-to the gargantuan expectations that people have on it? Let's find out
Plot: A huge force shaped like a bird is stealing people's cellphones and causing havoc across the city. To solve the problem, the government recruits Dr. Vaseegaran (Rajinikant) to investigate the issue. When he finally destabilizes the force, he finds out there's more than meets the eye. Who or what is this force? Why is it wreaking havoc against cellphones across the city? Watch the movie to find out.
Performances: Superstar Rajinikant is in his elements as Chitti and Vaseegaran. It's more or less an extension of what we saw in Enthiran. It's a bit disappointing because the real fun starts when Chitti 2.0 arrives but by the time that happens, it's only towards the climax of the film and you wish the fun factor had lasted longer
To be honest, the hero of the film is not Rajinikant. It's actually Akshay Kumar. He is just outstanding in his role as Pakshi Rajan. The role and flashback that Shankar has created for his role is very emotional and it forms the core of the movie. Despite less screen time, he makes the most of his role and delivers a knockout performance. His makeup and everything else is excellent and Akshay Kumar is arguably the highlight of the film.
As a robot, Amy Jackson is seductive and does her part well. The film primarily revolves around these 3 characters and if there's anyone else that makes an impact, it's Sudhanshu Pandey who play Danny Denzongpa's son from the first film.
Direction: Even though the reception of his last film Ai wasn't universal, Shankar's knack for brilliance and grandeur and his vision were unquestionable. After a gap of almost 4 years, he is back with 2.0. The film to be brutally honest, is pretty weak. The reason being is that the entire first half tests your patience and is completely pointless. After a shocking opening scene, the constant scenes of the force taking out people one after another is tedious and you have no idea what's going on. Only at the interval do you get some sort of closure and everything is answered in the flashback, revealing Akshay Kumar's character. Post in the interval, the technical brilliance is on full display and the climax makes for a scintillating watch. The graphics are mind-blowing and on par with big budget Hollywood films' visual effects. Despite the visual excellence, 2.0 lacks in character development or real exciting moments. It's almost as if Shankar was throwing a hailmary with introduction of the 2.0 character towards the climax. The fun factor and enthusiasm that we associated with a film like Enthiran is completely missing in 2.0. The only character worth redeeming in the film is Pakshi Raja. The rest are all artificial literally and there's really not much to take away from the film. While we cannot deny Shankar's vision and perfection, his eye for visual brilliance doesn't match the adept storytelling skills the great director has become known for in 2.0. It's not his worst film, but it's certainly not the best one either from Shankar.
Technicalities: Music and BGM are AR Rahman is excellent as always. There are very few music directors who rarely make a bad album or give a bad product and Rahman is definitely one of those people. While the songs don't make that much of an impact due to the narrative, he excels with a pulsating background score. Cinematography by Nirav Shah is just outstanding. Editing by Anthony is alright. Art design is magnificent as in every Shankar film. Costume Design is equally as good. Makeup deserves a special mention as the makeup and looks for Rajinkant, Akshay Kumar, and Amy Jackson are all amazing. Dialogues by Madhan Karky are ok. Stunts by Peter Hein are excellently choreographed. VFX by Srinivas Mohan is outstanding. 2.0 is a visual wonder and feast and features some of the best VFX we have ever seen in Indian cinema. Lastly, Production Values by Lyca Productions are magnificent. Though I must say a budget of $76 million doesn't seem to be required for the film
+ Askhay Kumar
+ Visual Effects
+ Flashback and Climax
- Shallow Plot
- Fun Factor Missing
- 1st Half
Analysis and Final Take: When Shankar first announced a sequel to Enthiran, many felt it was unnecessary, including myself. Now that the film has released, it doesn't really change the opinion of the audience unless you're a die hard fan of the director himself.
2.0 is a visual wonder but lacks the gripping elements or overall emotions throughout the entire narrative that Shankar has become known for over the years. If his last film Ai was any indication, the director is giving preference to more style than substance.
And the same could be said for 2.0. The makers have promoted the film as Rajinikant's movie through and through but in reality, the movie belongs to Akshay Kumar.
The film starts off in a sad way and then proceeds to introduce us to an unknown force that is killing people all over the city. The entire first half tests your patience as neither the plot or the motive behind what is going is revealed. Instead we are just treated to shapeshift after shapeshift and murder after murder. It can best be described as a poor man's Anniyan for most of the first half. Only during the interval bang do we get to know what the hell is actually going on. Who Akshay Kumar is and what he goes through in the flashback is very emotional and will possibly bring you to tears. It's a classic Shankar mark flashback which will touch your heart and explains the motives for actions of the antagonist. But in reality, Pakshi Raja is the real hero and since he is fighting for a good cause, you don't hate him. So in reality it becomes good vs good. The climax portions is where the real visual feast is and Rajinikant in his 2.0 avatar will keep you entertained.
But as proved with many cases in the past, a star can only do so much when there is a weak story. And unfortunately 2.0 suffers from this same issue. Despite a stunning visual output, the film lacks any commercial elements or entertainment of any sort and anyone expecting something in the fun range of Enthiran will be disappointing.
Shankar's films always have a good message and this one, albeit implausible to believe, is a very good one. The concept that radio towers and frequencies are killing birds and we should preserve them. Despite this however, the charisma of the leads and the visual effects make for a decent watch.
Overall, 2.0 is a visually stunning film with a hollow plot. The film lacks any commercial elements or real entertainment but is saved by the star power of both Rajinikant and Akshay Kumar along with some of the best visual effects we have ever seen in Indian cinema. It's worth a watch just for the technical brilliance and vision of director Shankar.