MUMBAI — This one’s a roller coaster of action laced with twists galore. Far superior to its not-so-happening earlier part “Commando” (which was claimed to be a modest success in 2013), this one begins with the same protagonist Karanvir (Vidyut Jammwal) killing a man who is helping Vicky Chadha, a man of many faces (Vansh Bhardwaj), laundering black money for the powerful and the influential, after getting him to spill Chadha’s whereabouts.
The prime minister (Anjum Rajabali) orders a crack team to get Chadha and Karan’s boss (Adil Hussein) to help the ex-commando to infiltrate this mission. Why is this so? Well, there are vested interests: a businessman (Satish Kaushik) and the home minister’s (Shefali Shah) corrupt son (Suhail Nayyar). They browbeat the minister into getting a team of losers — ACP Bakhtavar Khan (Freddy Daruwala), an easily scared computer hack Zafar (Sumit Gulati), and a trigger-happy Hyderabadi encounter cop Bhavna (Adah Sharma), to go get Chadha (under arrest in a safe house in Malaysia) but kill him soon.
In Malaysia, the wheelchair-ridden Chadha has a wife, Maria (Esha Gupta) who first tries to seduce Karan and then wants him to give them a safe passage to Bangkok as she has told him their sad back story that Karan confirms online through records.
The rest of the chase and double-crosses and twists are meant purely for entertainment with some adrenaline-pumping action at crucial junctures in the film. Please do not look for logic as often there is none. It would be giving spoilers to mention how many and which licenses are taken with logic, but the whole show seems to be a natural progression in the high-octane actioner that is now seemingly going to become a franchise, if this one works.
And work it should, however modestly, because of the high level of action, a lot of which impresses as it is clearly real rather than generated by visual effects. The film dispenses with frills like songs and even the romance is underplayed. What works for the film is the smart pace maintained by the director and some of the interesting key characters.
One more thing: sequels usually are just bigger, but on face value, this one is better than the original as well, though the tenor is more of a slick Bond-like thriller. As mentioned through a line in the film, the same character as in the earlier story is now a special officer (once court-martialed for breaking rules as a commando) whose habits die hard.
Vidyut Jammwal is getting better and better in his action, and emotes better as well, seeming comfortable in the character’s growth. A complete delight is Adah Sharma as Bhavna, who changes her entire body language and expressions to get into the character of a crazy woman cop. Hussein and Shah make a mark and so does Sumit Gulati as Zafar. Esha Gupta gets a gray role again after “Rustom” and delivers, but such roles can now typecast this fairly talented actress.
With the topicality of demonetization and the scourge of black money hoarded overseas that is more than sufficient to feed India’s poor and make them rich, the crisp (2.04 hours) film just might strike a chord with the masses. One wishes that the loopholes in the script could have been either avoided or worked upon. The film would then have got a classic and definite patriotic repute like a “Sarfarosh” or a “Dus.”
Oh well, there’s always that chance in “Commando 3”!
Reliance Entertainment, Sunshine Pictures and Pen Audio present “Commando 2: The Black Money Trail”
Produced by: Vipul Amrutlal Shah and Dhaval Gada
Directed by: Deven Bhojani
Written by: Suresh Nair & Ritesh Shah
Music: Mannan Shah & Gourov Roshin
Starring: Adah Sharma, Vidyut Jammwal, Esha Gupta, Adil Hussein, Freddy Daruwala, Thakur Anoop Singh, Suhail Nayyar, Siddharth Kher, Sumit Gulati, Abhiroy Singh, Vansh Bhardwaj, Anjum Rajabali Sp.app: Satish Kaushik & Shefali Shah.