Saturday, July 3, 2010

800th Post Special: Bollywood's Taxi

Has it really been 800 random posts of my ramblings?  All I can say is this: damn!  To celebrate this momentous, one-of-a-time occasion, I bring you a Bollywood remake of a famous French action film.  Yeah, that sounds about right.  The movie in question is 2004's Dhoom, a big-budget action film that tries to copy it's predecessor...except for one key thing.  You see, Taxi is a film about a cop and a criminal driving cars around and chasing a gang of thieves that also drive cars.  Dhoom is...about motorcycles.  Why?  Well, it has something to do with the director's choice.  For one thing, it's easier to see the actors' faces on a bike.  Oh yeah, the guy also likes motorcycles.  Imagine a remake of Jaws featuring a killer dolphin because the director wanted to put his pet in a film!  The film is notable for it's big action scenes, some salacious content (still no kissing though) and the casting of Indian star John Abraham.  Basically, he's the Bollywood equivalent of John Barrowman- does that help anyone but me?  Anyways, get out your curry-scented air fresheners for my review of...
The film begins with a pointlessly-flashy scene of a motorcycle gang attacking an armored car truck.  Faster than you can say 'I wonder what this Bollywood film will rip off,' we get some Brian De Palma-style split-frame shots of the scene.  Does it matter?  No.  After this scene, we get a 180-degree shift to a song-and-dance scene involving our hero and his girlfriend.  Basically, he spends five minutes trying to get her to have sex with him via song.  His ways of wooing her consist of dancing next to her, spraying her with a hose and simply asking her repeatedly.  Before any nookie can happen, he is called in to work.  After he checks out the scene of the crime, we meet our other hero: the comedic thief.  He's a bike racer, which I'm sure won't come into play in this scene.  Through a series of silly events, he's hit by the girlfriend in her car, taken home with her and dreams of wooing her, only to have those dreams dashed by the return of the boyfriend.  To make a long story short, he makes the guy work for him on police business, which includes getting into a fight with some bikers, getting into a chase and making jokes.  Man, being a cop sounds fun!  In a pointlessly-silly moment, the cops stake out a place for a potential robbery and have the thief dressed up like a clown.  He also finds time to get into a song-and-dance number with a hot girl in the rain.  Where did all those other dancers come from again?
The gang continues to commit some robberies, in spite of the police presence.  In one scene we get a long chase between the group and our heroes.  Pointless slow-motion- check.  Flashy editing- check.  Completely unnecessary scene of the duo jumping over a train- big check!  Our heroes go to see a concert featuring the woman who danced with the comedy relief character, only to have an attack by the gang occur.  The comedy relief guy saves her from the fire, while our hero shoots at the fleeing suspects- while on fire!  Holy f-ing shit!  This sets up a plot point of our heroes 'getting into a fight' on camera and setting up the comedy relief guy to join the gang to replace the bullet-ridden man.  Things get trickier when the singer actually ends up being in the gang.  She gets into a romantic entanglement with the guy, which is aided by her aping the famous moment from Dr. No.  I shouldn't be surprised by this point...and I'm not.  Our heroes actually out-smart the robbers and arrest them...only to have them escape when the lights go out.  How they get on their bikes and drive out within ten seconds of this, I don't know.  The gang turns on our comedic relief character, but he's saved by the cop...who fires a straight shot from about 200 yards away.  Ri-ight.  Anyhow, this is where it gets good...
The word 'rip-off' has been thrown around a couple of times in this review and you might feel that I'm being overly-generous with it.  Maybe, but in the following portion, it's completely true.  The final fight scene of the movie is between Abraham and our cop hero.  To put it bluntly, they blatantly rip-off the freeway fight from The Matrix Reloaded.  Seriously, Abraham and the cop do kung-fu on top of the truck, even going so far as to do jump-kicks and flips.  That works in The Matrix Reloaded, but in here, it's just silly.  You know, in that film, they're, you know, in the Matrix!  Anyhow, the comedic cop saves the day by kicking the driver out.  Our heroes live happily ever after- the cop ending up with his girl and the thief ending up with the singer.  That was two hours well-spent.
This movie is just pure ridiculousness.  Where do I begin?  For one thing, it's a remake of a French film famous for its car chases and it's all about motorcycles.  Seriously, who ignores such important details like this?  I guess this gives me the leeway to do my remake of The Italian Job with only unicycles now!  Secondly, the film lives up to all of the cliches of Bollywood films.  The film has five or six unnecessary song-and-dance moments in it.  Hell, one of them has dancers show up out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly.  Third, the film is full of so many odd little quirks.  For example, John Abraham speaks a good majority of his dialogue in English...for some reason.  There's also the weird comedy bits involving the thief, my favorite of which involves him picturing himself on a bike with the cop's girlfriend as his lady.  It's just...well, random.  Because of all the ancillary stuff, the movie is just over two hours long.  Do I recommend this movie?  If you like this kind of stuff, the movie is weird, fun and flashy.  If you don't, it'll be a long, confusing mess.  Take your pick.

Next up, I celebrate American independence from Britain.  I do this by reviewing a really dumb British movie, of course.  Stay tuned...

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