Exotic foreign cities, daring stunts, villainous plots, beautiful babes, thumping background score - it seems that Abbas-Mustan have covered the basics of "How to Make an Action film 101". However, like magicians, this directing duo have amazingly replaced solid storytelling and character development with an overly stylized package of glamour and hedonism and what we're left with is a movie that doesn't quite live up to it's potential.

The basic premise of the plot - the primary motive that drives the characters to do what they do – is as clich├ęd as can be. The opening narration, done by Anil Kapoor, goes on forever, and instead of showing us each of the characters by their actions and dialogues, we are simply just told about them. Then there's Allan Amin's action sequences - not world-class mind you, but passable... and we are treated to what I imagine is his favorite stunt - the car that starts somersaulting before it even hits anything - several times over.

And what of the actors? I liked Saif Ali Khan in 'Kal Ho Naa Ho', 'Hum Tum', even 'Ta Ra Rum Pum', so he was probably the reason I picked this movie up to begin with. It was a different role I've become accustomed to, but I thought his delivery of the serious older brother was believable - even with the beard and mammoth sized sunglasses that rarely leave his face. His expressions and the intensity in which he plays Ranvir Singh are top notch. Saif has come a long way in the last few years, and is undoubtedly one of the most under-rated actors in Bollywood today.

Akshaye Khanna played the abhorrent and sleazy Rajeev Singh well also, though he is an actor that doesn't make my roster of favorites. Having only seen in in 'Dil Chahta Hai', he was convincing as the anti-hero. Performance wise Bipasha Basu is good enough, and, while Katrina Kaif looks gorgeous, in the acting department she is strictly average. As for Sameera Reddy, her role, though minuscule has been well etched out, leaving no room for doubt about her brainless one-liners. In this movie more than any other I've seen to date, the woman serve more as desert than even a side dish.

Anil Kapoor, as the fruit munching detective RD, tries to deliver some much needed comic relief in the second (I thought the fruit bit was funny). His role, more than any other though, is riddled with holes. I mean, a detective has to report to higher authorities, don't they? Here he is the authority himself, who investigates crime like he's having a picnic on a beach. Uh-oh, deja vu has just set in - I'm sure I just saw this same cop character in another movie I just watched. Johnny Lever's cameo was funny, and it was nice to see him put together rather than all over the place.

This film is chalk full of songs. Do they all contribute to the flow of the film? Nope, but you can be sure of one thing, they'll get your feet moving. Race Sanson Ki is surely the catchiest song for me, but some of the choreography reminds me in parts of Michael Jackson's Thriller. By far the sexiest video of the bunch is Khwab Dekhe (Sexy Lady) complete with water dancing and oh-so-subtle song lyrics like "Breaths are wavering/My desires are crazy/I feel like touching your wet lips all the time ". Yikes. Cold shower please! Pehli Nazar Mein is my favorite. The combination of Atif Aslam’s vocals, soft strumming of the guitar and Sameer’s poetic lyrics makes for good music and is the highlight of the movie.

'Race' is not a great film but delivers what it promises to deliver I suppose. It's slickly photographed and has some exciting action scenes, however, there are so many twists and turns, shifting the needle of suspicion from one to the other character with numbing velocity, that by the end of it nothing really comes as a shock. Abbas-Mustan takes you from the world of horse racing (which is where I wish this movie would have stayed - I mean what was the point anyway?) to car racing, literally overusing the race theme to death. If for nothing else, watch for the hot, steamy videos.

(gratuitous half-naked pic of Saif. *sigh* )

15 Response to "Race"

  1. Filmi Girl says:
    June 24, 2009 at 2:30 PM

    I thought Race was dull every second Saif was NOT on-screen shirtless... ;)

    One year later, I still don't understand how all the right elements could combine into such a boring film... Oh well.

    And re: Kat - she signed this before she loosened up in Namastey London, which may explain her average performance.

  2. shell says:
    June 24, 2009 at 3:31 PM

    @ Filmigirl - A huge namaste and welcome to you!

    We nearly had a casualty to the sandman during this flick, but it kept me interested enough till the end. Thank God for Saif!

    I haven't really seen Kat in much. I tried to watch Namaste London, but couldn't get into it. Is it worth a retry?

    Thanks for visiting my little blog world!

  3. Bhargav Saikia says:
    June 24, 2009 at 9:02 PM

    I found Race very lousy. Hardly a decent whodunit.

  4. theBollywoodFan says:
    June 24, 2009 at 9:02 PM

    I guess I feel about Dhoom what you feel about Race. Filmi Girl and I had this conversation a year ago...the horses and cars probably explain why I liked it, LOL. And of course (in caps): Kats, Sameera, and Bips (in that order)!

    So...are you ready for Race 2? =)

  5. Jules says:
    June 24, 2009 at 10:52 PM

    I've seen way better action films and was quite disappointed with this one. I did get quite a few laughs out of RD, but I'm not 100% sure I wasn't just laughing at your own laughter at him. Does that make sense? Best part of the movie for me was when you nose butted me awake and made me snort! LMAO!! Well ok... Saif's naked bits were yummy too.

  6. shell says:
    June 25, 2009 at 6:25 AM

    @ Bhargav Saikia - I didn't hate it, but it was only so-so for me.

    @theBollywoodfan - I wish it had either been set fully as a horse race movie or a car race movie so they could have developed the background story better. The ladies were definitely smokin', no doubt about it. Race 2 hey? Well, what the heck - I almost always find something about a movie that I like, so I'm game.

    @Jules - hahahah. God that was funny. I think it's time for a romance, what do you say?

  7. bollywooddeewana says:
    June 25, 2009 at 9:08 AM

    I liked this one, it was entertaining, sexy and thrilling, i enjoyed all the twists and turns (Abbas Mustan are the proclaimed kings of Twist and Turns in modern day hindi cinema) and i enjoyed all the eye candy dished out to me, the riff on 'Race sanson ki' is to die for, so original albeit quite '80's, it sounds like a riff Bon Jovi would have died for

  8. shell says:
    June 25, 2009 at 9:49 AM

    @ bollywooddeewana - It certainly had it's moments and it's fair share of skin. I would probably rate it about a 7/10 for me. I think it did quite well at the box office. I may have to check out more of their movies.

  9. bollywooddeewana says:
    June 29, 2009 at 10:10 AM

    It did indeed do well all their movies seem to be inspired from Hollywood movies and this one was inspired from Goodbye Lover


    This commenter (spingsunnywriter) on Imdb list some of their films and the Hollywood remakes they were inspired from


  10. bollyviewer says:
    June 29, 2009 at 12:23 PM

    O this movie was such fun! All the "thrilling" twists and turns were a laugh-a-minute gags. Not to mention all the eye candy... I certainly am ready for Race 2 and more "surprises" that surprise a laugh out of me. :-D

  11. shell says:
    June 29, 2009 at 12:46 PM

    @ bollywooddeewana - I'd heard that it was based on that one so I checked it out and realized that I'd seen it long ago. Funny. Though I don't remember anything about it except for Patricia Arquette.

    @ bollyviewer - I don't think I've seen a movie with more eye candy. Well Dhoom 2 comes close. I think the only thing I laughed at was the fruit thing, but there was enough in this one for me to watch a sequel - especially if it includes another shirtless Saif.

  12. Daddy's Girl says:
    June 30, 2009 at 3:29 AM

    I didn't like Race much (weak script, too many silly twists and turns, and what was that ridiculous cowboy song?!) but I definitely enjoyed all the gratuitous eye candy (I thought Katrina and Saif looked particularly hot). Between that the cars and horses (and all the glamour), I guess I can see why it was a hit...

  13. shell says:
    June 30, 2009 at 6:54 AM

    I know - there were so many twists my head almost fell off! Hopefully the sequel puts this one to shame - at least story wise.

  14. Anonymous Says:
    July 27, 2009 at 7:11 PM

    Katrina Kaif is a dumb doll (albeit beautiful) and a lucky woman coz all the movies are supposed to be commercial hits which means she has a long race in hindi films

  15. shell says:
    July 28, 2009 at 7:49 AM

    @ Anon - they may all be commercial, but that doesn't guarantee that they'll be a hit. Yuuvraaj certainly did not do what they expected. As for Katrina, she's pretty and all, but not one of my favorites, that's for sure.