Tag Archives: Race

Streaming Video News: October 1, 2018

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with more than fifty Indian titles that are now available for streaming. Most of the new films are in Hindi (23 titles), Punjabi (22), or Tamil (7), with one new addition each in Marathi and Bengali (as well as one Urdu movie from Pakistan). The full list of titles is available in the “Newly Added” section at the top of my Netflix page. Here are all of the Bollywood films that were just added:

Supposedly, Soorma is scheduled to join Netflix in India on October 20, with Sanju set to join the catalog this month as well, so we’ll keep an eye on that. For everything else new on Netflix — Bollywood or not — check Instant Watcher.

I also update my list of Bollywood movies on Amazon Prime with one new addition to the streaming catalog: the road trip movie Karwaan, which hit in theaters back on August 3, 2018. The July, 2018 theatrical release Dhadak comes to Prime in India on October 4, so hopefully we’ll get it here in the US as well.

Update: Thanks to my Twitter pal Gaurav for letting me know that Fanney Khan debuts on Amazon Prime on October 12, and Sanju hits Netflix on October 15.

Advertisements

Streaming Video News: July 1, 2015

I updated my list of Bollywood movies on Netflix with two new additions to the catalog. The entertaining 2014 biopic Mary Kom and the ridiculous 2008 action flick Race are now available for streaming.

According to Instant Watcher, Chak De! India is now available for rent or purchase at Amazon. It’s also available for streaming at Netflix.

Streaming Video News: April 10, 2013

Today marks the Netflix streaming debut of Race 2, which opened in theaters on January 25, 2013. It’s a follow-up to 2008’s Race, which is also available for streaming on Netflix. A familiarity with the first film helps to explain some of the relationships in the second, but it’s not essential to understanding the plot of Race 2. I wasn’t a fan of either movie, but if you’re in the mood for mindless action, Race and Race 2 might fit the bill.

Also on April 10, the bizarre Hindi monster movie Hisss exits the Netflix streaming catalog. The film was plagued with problems throughout the production, and they are obvious in the final product. It will not be missed.

In other video news, Dabangg 2 makes its streaming debut on Eros Now on Friday, April 12 (though not in India). Dabangg 2 is available free to subscribers or as a premium rental for $1.99. 2010’s Dabangg is already available for streaming on the service.

Movie Review: Race 2 (2013)

Race_2_Poster2 Stars (out of 4)

Buy or rent the movie at iTunes
Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the soundtrack at Amazon

There were moments in Race 2 when I really wanted to like the movie, if only my brain would let me. Giving any aspect of Race 2 more than a passing thought renders it utterly silly.

Race 2 picks up not long after the events of the original Race from 2008. (Though not essential, it does help to have seen the original film.) Ranveer Singh (Saif Ali Khan) arrives in Istanbul to cheat casino magnate Vikram Thapar (Rajesh Khattar) out of his properties in revenge for a wrong that Ranveer doesn’t immediately specify. Ranveer then transfers ownership of the casinos to street-fighter-turned-billionaire Armaan Mallik (John Abraham).

If Ranveer’s generosity toward Armaan seems too good to be true, that’s because it is. Ranveer’s really out to get revenge on Armaan for another unspecified wrong, but Armaan knows Ranveer’s out to get him. And Ranveer knows that Armaan knows that Ranveer’s out to get him. And then Ranveer steals the Shroud of Turin.

Race 2 owes a lot to early James Bond movies, what with characters always being one step ahead of each other and wielding crazy gadgets like Armaan’s digital playing cards, whose faces can be manipulated on an iPhone operated by his half-sister, Alina (Deepika Padukone). The characters also fall into the Bond villain trap of talking too much and over-complicating things when a bullet to the head would be a surer and simpler way to kill someone.

Anil Kapoor returns in the sequel as R.D., a goofy, now-retired detective with a soft spot for Ranveer. R.D. has a new, bubble-brained assistant named Cherry (Ameesha Patel) who exists only to provide R.D. opportunities to make double entendres. Jacqueline Fernandez plays Armaan’s girlfriend, Omisha, a woman with a connection to Ranveer’s girlfriend in the original Race, Soniya (Bipasha Basu).

Race 2 is the movie equivalent of an email written in all caps. Everything about it is relentlessly intense. It feels as though approximately forty percent of the movie consists of shots of characters strutting in slow-motion while a fan blows on them and a heavy metal guitar wails in the background. Directing duo Abbas-Mustan want to make sure that the audience is absolutely clear that Race 2 is AWESOME! SEXY! EXCITING! COOL!

Let me illustrate this with a video of the song “Allah Duhai Hai,” which sums up the intensity the movie tries to maintain for all of its two-and-a-half hours:

This excess could be funny if the movie had any sense of humor about itself, but it doesn’t. Ranveer, Armaan, Alina, and Omisha are all deadly serious as they double cross one another, no matter how ridiculous the circumstances.

Padukone and Fernandez are the two strongest performers in the cast, carrying off their roles with sex appeal and an air of danger. Kapoor and Patel are amusing enough, and Khan is competent as usual.

Abraham is the weak link. Despite being cast for his beefcake body, there’s nothing menacing about him. He’s supposed to be the most fearsome man in Turkey, but only if you’re dumb enough to challenge him to a fistfight.

The story moves quickly enough to hold one’s attention, even though everything that happens is silly and unable to be explained by the retroactive continuity Abbas-Mustan were obviously hoping would clear everything up. The Turkish-influenced musical score is the film’s best element. Race 2 is less annoying that the original Race, but that’s hardly a recommendation.

Links

Movie Review: Prince (2010)

2.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the soundtrack at Amazon

2008’s Drona aspired to be an original, inspirational Indian superhero movie, but failed to reach its potential. Prince, while derivative of Western superhero movies, succeeds as a fun action flick sure to spawn a sequel.

Prince (Vivek Oberoi) is an anti-hero who makes James Bond look like a slacker. Prince is the world’s greatest thief, capable of pulling off outrageous international heists while avoiding capture. He has an arsenal of high-tech gadgets. He’s unbeatable in a fight. Women love him. And, to top it all off, he can dance.

The morning after a job, Prince wakes up to find a butler he doesn’t recognize tending to a mysterious bullet wound on his arm. He can’t remember anything about his life, not even his own name.

Prince is kidnapped by a secret Indian government agency operating covertly in South Africa. The agency leader, Colonel Khanna (Dalip Tahil), explains that Prince lost his memory while stealing a valuable antique coin. Of course, Prince doesn’t remember where he hid the coin.

His girlfriend and criminal partner, Maya, offers to help him. Prince doesn’t recognize Maya but accepts her help. Things get confusing when two other women show up, also claiming to be Maya.

Everyone Prince meets gives him conflicting information about why the missing coin is so special. Is it a tool to entrap a master criminal named Sarang? A magical artifact? A nano-weapon? The only way for Prince to learn the truth and recover his memory is to find the coin.

Prince works because it is self-aware. Hanging inside Prince’s “batcave” of gadgets and costumes are posters of Batman, Spider-man and Iron Man, American superheroes whose movies obviously inspired Prince.

The film is an improvement on one of producer Kumar Taurani’s previous efforts, Race. While Taurani hasn’t lost his love of preposterous explosions that make vehicles flip in midair, Prince‘s lead characters are more appealing that the jerks in Race.

When writing the inevitable sequels to Prince, there are a few flaws from the original that the filmmakers would be wise not to repeat. First are the disappointingly slow chase scenes. If terrain is too bumpy for jeeps and mopeds to operate at high speeds, shoot the scene in a different location.

Second is the woeful misuse of a shark tank. There is but one use for sharks in movies: eating people. That no one falls in the shark tank during a late scene is unforgivable.

Another underused prop is the villain Sarang’s bionic hand. While it looks like something out of Terminator, is doesn’t do anything apart from giving Sarang’s punches a little extra oomph. He could’ve at least, you know, crushed a guy’s throat with it or something.

Apart from a few missed opportunities for grisly deaths, Prince is a fun action movie that, while not mentally taxing, at least makes sense within the rules it sets for itself. In order to enjoy a 2 hour 15 minute Bollywood action movie, that’s often all that I require.

Opening April 9: Prince

Finally, Chicago area Bollywood fans have a reason to return to the theater. Prince stars Vivek Oberoi as the world’s greatest thief, who loses his memory during the course of a heist. He has six days to recover his memory and save the world. The movie is produced by the same team behind Race, so expect logic-defying action scenes and minimal story.

Prince opens on Friday, April 9, 2010 at the AMC Loews Pipers Alley 4 in Chicago, Big Cinemas Golf Glen 5 in Niles, AMC South Barrington 30 in South Barrington and AMC Cantera 30 in Warrenville. It has a listed runtime of 2 hrs. 15 min.

There are no other Hindi films playing in the Chicago area this weekend. Though it left area theaters weeks ago, My Name Is Khan just passed the $4 million mark in nationwide earnings.

Other Indian movies playing in theaters this weekend include Paiyaa (Tamil), Thanthoni (Malayalam) and Varudu (Telugu) at the Golf Glen 5. Paiyaa is also showing at Sathyam Cinemas in Downers Grove.

Movie Review: Race (2008)

1.5 Stars (out of 4)

Buy or rent the movie at iTunes
Buy the DVD at Amazon
Buy the soundtrack at Amazon

Saif Ali Khan and Akshaye Khanna play two brothers vying for an inheritance who try to kill each other in complicated ways that ignore both logic and physics. The plot twists are ridiculous, and their retroactive explanations are even worse. The stunts are more laughable than exciting, as when one character bungee jumps into a moving car. Not even Anil Kapoor’s humorous portrayal of a quirky, fruit-eating detective can save Race. Given how detestable both brothers are, it hardly matters which survives.

No Rating (language, violence); 154 minutes

This review originally appeared in The Naperville Sun on March 28, 2008