Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the soundtrack at iTunes
Pitting two of Bollywood’s biggest action stars against one another lives up to the hype in War, a tremendously fun, globetrotting thrill ride.
Indian super-spy Kabir (Hrithik Roshan) has gone rogue. A task force including his former pupil, Khalid (Tiger Shroff), must track Kabir down and figure out what happened. Their boss, Colonel Luthra (Ashutosh Rana), assigns another agent to lead the task force because Khalid is “too close” to Kabir. Khalid’s colleague Aditi (Anupriya Goenka) covertly funnels him information, because she wants to find Kabir as badly as he does.
Kabir’s team was the best of the best, hot on the trail of international criminal Rizwan Ilyasi (Sanjeev Vasta) when Khalid joined them as a promising new recruit. The onboarding process was rocky, since Kabir worried that Khalid might harbor some resentment for Kabir having killed his agent-turned-terrorist father (in self defense!). But Khalid proved both loyal and capable, winning Kabir’s trust — only for Kabir to turn on the government he swore to protect.
Khalid’s desire to join Kabir’s team stems both from a need to show the world that he is not his father’s son and from his infatuation with Kabir. Roshan as Kabir gets one of cinema’s most loving introductions, stepping out of a helicopter with the wind blowing his hair, striding muscularly, like a being made of pure testosterone. Khalid gawks at him on behalf of all of us.
Not to be overlooked is Khalid’s own introduction, via one of Bollywood’s best-ever fight scenes. The fight choreography and Ben Jasper’s camera work as Khalid tosses drug dealers around an apartment are spectacular. Shroff’s athletic prowess is just as impressive.
War is among the most expensive Indian films ever made, and it looks it. Chase scenes — whether on foot or via car or motorcycle — in foreign locales are as exciting to watch as they are stunning to look at. The scale is big, the stakes are high, and writer-director Siddharth Anand pushes the envelope even further than his previous action spectacular, Bang Bang, which also looked great but was disappointing. The lessons learned from that film translated into a thriller that can stand up alongside anything Hollywood has to offer, with well-integrated CGI, practical effects, and complicated stunt work.
Another improvement is in the quality of acting Anand gets from his performers. Roshan was miscast in the action-comedy Bang Bang, but he plays Kabir perfectly as steely but not unfeeling. Shroff has always been his best when playing underdogs, and he uses that here to show how Khalid’s over-eagerness makes him reckless. Goenka’s role is utilitarian — she’s always there with the right information at the right time — but she gives Aditi a spark.
Vaani Kapoor has a small but impactful role as Naina, a dancer Kabir befriends while tracking Ilyasi on a solo mission in Italy. Naina pegs Kabir’s martyr streak as dangerous. Kabir says his team is his family, but Aditi has a fiance and Khalid has his mother — Kabir’s the only one with no one else to come home to. It helps to remind Kabir that real people are involved, something the movie notes when Colonel Luthra acknowledges some Portuguese soldiers killed in a mission gone wrong. The characters don’t just rampage through cities without consequence.
Sure, some loose ends are left hanging at film’s end, and the ridiculous climax includes what is essentially a really-effective Audi commercial. But no one can ever accuse War‘s cast or crew of phoning it in. Anand wanted world-class stunts and powerful action sequences, and he got them. Roshan and Shroff look jacked, and their fights and dance scenes are impressive. Kapoor stands out in her acrobatic showcase dance number as well. War is just tremendous fun and a great example of a movie that warrants viewing on the biggest screen possible.
Pingback: Bollywood Box Office: October 18-20, 2019 | Access Bollywood
Pingback: Opening October 25: Housefull 4, Saand Ki Aankh, and Made in China | Access Bollywood
Pingback: This Week at the Movies (Oct. 25, 2019) | Online Film Critics Society
Pingback: Bollywood Box Office: October 25-27, 2019 | Access Bollywood
Pingback: Opening November 1: Ujda Chaman | Access Bollywood
Perfect review, good movie too. But they could have done away with that exponentially implausible twist that almost ruined the fun. But the action sequences and the leads made it worthwhile.
Thanks, Siddharth! At least when they decided to go crazy with the twist, they went full crazy! 🙂
Pingback: Streaming Video News: November 27, 2019 | Access Bollywood
Although story wise, the script was weak to be honest but the action sequences and the execution of the stunts, the car and bike chases plus the performances of the two leading men was what made up for the glitches. Both of them looked super hot 😀 Everything looked very stylish, I loved the final product
The whole film looked so slick. Glad you enjoyed it, Amit!
Pingback: Best Bollywood Movies of 2019 | Access Bollywood
Pingback: Streaming Video News: February 7, 2020 | Access Bollywood
Saw War only recently and wow, I thought this movie was good fun, certainly a lot more so than the last Mission Impossible. It captures a lightness of tone that has gone missing from the MI series, and the action, even if heavily borrowed is at least expertly executed.
I was LOLing when two cars supposed to be racing somewhere in the Arctic Circle crash into a full-fledged Grand Cathedral with a glass dome. The Pope must have sanctioned a massive budget for converting the Inuit people.
Also, going by the tender glances Tiger and Hrithik were giving each other, any other romance in this movie would have been just a blind.
“It captures a lightness of tone that has gone missing from the MI series” — I totally agree. Also, everything that happens once they get on that ice breaker ship is completely bonkers, LOL!