Action Jackson Review

Saturday, December 6, 2014
A dialogue in ‘Action Jackson’ has Ajay Devgn talking to himself when he sees Manaswi Mamgai “Yaar Ye to Mercedes Hain! Ek Baar test drive karna padega!” (This one’s like a Mercedes, must ‘test drive’ her once). A significant part of the first half hinges on the premise of Sonakshi Sinha’s changing luck. It changes for the better when she accidentally sees Ajay Devgn in the nude. So she plots & plans to devise means to see him in the nude again, just so she can land an NRI groom. Just in case you miss the point, an animation shows her pulling his pants off inside a swimming pool. Her air headed friends proceed to chase Kunal Roy Kapur and undress him, for their share of good luck; but to explain why that happens, is beyond my abilities. Cardboard cut out villains punch and beat Yami Gautam twice over, in slow motion, Dolby sound effect mode. Manaswi Mamgai’s character basically walks around in various push up bras, and in a scene, pushes up her assets in front of a mirror.
By now, you get the drift on just how misogynistic and disrespectful to women this film is.

There is a botched up plot somewhere, with a double role and mistaken identities of two Ajay Devgns (both fisticuff friendly goons). There is a one eyed don living overseas, and his psycho sister who gets obsessed with the sword swinging AJ version of the Devgans, and there are some enormous muscled goons supported by a mini army of orange clad men (not orangutans mind you, they are infinitesimally smarter!) There is endless blood-letting, various brutal killings and incongruous songs that grate on your nerves.
Manaswi Mamgai, as the bra totting, coke snorting, cigarette-smoking vamp, breathes heavily and suggestively in every dialogue; perhaps to explain her ‘obsession’ with sword boy AJ. Sonakshi Sinha features in a demeaning role, but that’s not surprising anymore. Yami Gautam is the ‘good girl’ cliché and a pretty punching bag. Kunal Roy Kapoor is an annoying caricature. As for ‘AJ”, there are two versions. Version 1 dances while beating up local goons; Version 2 slashes through multiple men single handedly with Uma Thurman’s ‘Kill Bill’ sword to cacophony in the background.
Akin to a form of commercial film-making patented by South Indian cinema, ‘Action Jackson’ is a violent, noisy film bereft of any meaning. Logic is subsumed to convenience. For instance, a pregnant woman stabbed in the stomach still delivers a healthy baby! The damage is aggravated by complete humiliation of its female characters.
I once tried repeatedly to get an answer out of Prabhudeva on the lowly portrayal of women in his films. He kept saying, “It’s just a film.” Clearly, he sees nothing wrong with his treatment. I am more than a little surprised that Ajay Devgn would take up this film, despite the new ‘100 crore’ fascination in Bollywood. This Devgn is a far cry from the intense performer of ‘Zakhm’ and ‘Company’.
Should you watch it? If you fancy various ways of knifing people, bouncing dance moves & heaving, brainless women.
A last word on the Censor Board- this film has a U/A certificate. Go figure!


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