Caught on Chinese territory and branded a spy, Commando Karanveer Dogra (Vidyut Jammwal) is disowned by his country because a politician reasons that siding with Karanveer would be damaging to the Indo-Chinese relations, ‘The nation is more important than a soldier’, the politician states flatly. After spending a year in imprisonment Karanveer escapes and crosses the border trying to get to his base Pathankot. Enroute he bumps into Simrit (Pooja Chopra), on a run from local politician goon Amrit Kanwal aka AK74 (Jaideep Ahlawat) who harbors the hots for her and wants to marry her. The rest of the film is a string of cat-mice chase with a sly social message sneaked in.
Vidyut Jammwal makes a 360 from his debut villain role (in Force) to play the good cop here and he does an impressive job of it but the distinction between both his roles isn’t much as they both had a single USP – action. While his screen command is significant, unfortunately as the complete focus is on his combat skills, it remains to see if he is any more than just brawn. It might be too soon to certify him an actor, but is definitely one to watch for; additionally hoping he doesn’t get type casted into such characters. Pooja Chopra similarly has an equally strong screen presence, but is at a disadvantage with spotlight being on the hero instead for most of the films run time. With her character poorly defined, post her caricatured Punjaban introduction, she doesn’t have much to do than scowl, scorn and play a wide-eyed hapless victim. Jaideep Ahlawat is menacing as is required of the character. Less said about the romantic angle of the film the better, the cold vibes shared between Simrit and AK is comparatively more interesting.
Apart from one slo-mo romantic track ‘Saawan Bairi’ which possibly added to serve as respite from the monotony of fight sequences, there is an unnecessary item number, a kitschy version of Helen’s ‘Mungda…. gud ki dali’ which should have been edited out. Although knowing how Bollywood productions work, doubt the director had much say to that.
Director Dilip Ghosh promises an action entertainer and that’s exactly what you shall be served, though the presentation may not be per your taste. The high-octane stunts performed with symphonic precision and without any cables or body doubles (as we are informed by a disclaimer in the start), comes across as gratifyingly real. Of course kudos to stunt coordinator Franz Spilhaus for that, who despite the gazillion back-to-back fight scenes, introduces innovation and newness in each sequence.
Commando comes with its set of flaws in theory, but crosses them off with technical aspects being the core. The writers, orgasmic over the hero beating the baddies to pulp, seem to have taken the genre a tad bit too seriously resulting in them being shamelessly callous towards the script. The leads are running for their lives in a jungle, but she’d rather be cutesy. No one seems to be in any hurry to go anywhere as they circle the hills innumerable times, luckily for us Sejal Shah’s striking camerawork comes to play making the merry-go-round a little less dizzy. The wafer thin story has too many ‘What-Why-How-Hain!’ expressions all over it, though it is somewhat camouflaged by the action excellence which is engaging enough to keep you seated. Trivia around commandos are cheekily fitted in; jungle survival tips are thrown in for fun. The intents and behavior of every character is questionable. The villain when not fantasizing for the heroine is constantly pumping bullets, politicians break rules to keep up with their notorious repute and army generals shun law codes in favor of their favorite commando. There is a social message that the makers shoddily attempt, you nod indifferently, but the resulting climax makes a mockery of it thus beating the whole purpose. Here again the hero flexes his muscles, treats you to another bout of jumps, slaps and kicks and you revel in his antics.
Commando needs to be watched simply because we have an honest Bollywood action flick with the hero actually looking and being the part and the action not looking like it has been stripped of a video game. You never know when the likes of this kind will come our way again.