True to its utterly unimaginative title, Bang Bang makes a hell of a lot of ear-splitting noise. By the end of it all, it manages to produce no more than a croaky, barely palatable whimper.
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The action hero at the centre of the film’s inane plot periodically plunges off buildings, cliffs and bridges, besides sundry other launching pads, and almost always emerges in one unharmed piece, not a strand of hair out of place. Unfortunately, the film doesn’t.
Bang Bang is a slickly mounted but maddeningly muddled thriller that does not quite know how to negotiate the spills that inevitably come with the territory. The makers have clearly invested a great deal of effort in mindless pyrotechnics. All very well. If only they had devoted a fraction of that attention to the screenplay, this overlong film would have been infinitely less tedious. The heroine makes a confession early in the second half. I’ll never know who you are and what you do, she complains to the man who has literally swept her off her feet. Honestly, large parts of the audience are likely to find themselves in a similar quandary. Not that you need to be a super whiz kid to figure out who this mysterious and unstoppable man of action is and what he is trying to achieve. A proud and patriotic Indian military intelligence man (Jimmy Shergill) is done to death by a brutal gang lord (Danny Denzongpa) and his liberally tattooed hitman (Javed Jaffrey). After the credits have rolled, the hero (Hrithik Roshan) makes his grand entry and goes hell for leather.
But he quickly loses his way around as a beautiful hick town bank receptionist who has never been kissed crosses his path and gets embroiled in a global conspiracy she cannot make head or tail of. Bang Bang heads downhill from there on. It wilts under the weight of a clunky screenplay that makes a lot of ground in geographical terms, moving from London and Prague to Shimla and Dehradun.
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But the narrative goes nowhere. It gets bogged down in a string of confrontation and chase sequences involving the hero and the drifter lass on the one hand and the duo’s ruthless pursuers on the other. The protagonist filches the Kohinoor, no less. The act rattles an international crime syndicate and India’s secret service, which believes that the daring heist could endanger a proposed extradition treaty with the UK.
The term “extradition treaty” is uttered a few times in the first half of the film and those two are the only meaningful words you will hear all through the two and a half hours that Bang Bang takes to get wherever it is trying to get. Needless to say, the hero is always a step ahead of his adversaries and every time he seems to be cornered, he pulls out a crazy trick from his well-worn bag. The action movie tropes that Bang Bang employs are so clichéd that they never take the audience by surprise. Everyone but the characters on the screen knows what is coming next – and when it does, it invariably falls well short of expectations. The climax is especially tiresome. It goes on forever and is too outlandish to make genuine impact Hrithik’s beefy presence cannot compensate for the unbearable lightness of the character that he is called upon to make some sense of.
He gives it his best shot, but at the best of times it is a losing battle. As for Katrina, she appears to be doing pretty much what she has done all these years – pout, preen and look pretty. If Bang Bang is a reliable enough pointer, it is apparent that there is little bang left in her dwindling buck. But do look out for brief appearances by Deepti Naval and Kanwaljit Singh and a solid-as-ever performance from Pavan Malhotra as a wily government agent who keeps getting in the hero’s way when the latter thinks he’s got things neatly wrapped up. Bang Bang is strictly for Hrithik Roshan fans and for those that do not want an action flick to be anything more than just that.