When the directors Abbas-Mustan۪s Race۪ (2008) hit our screens, it caused uproar in the cinemas as finally it seemed that Bollywood was catching up with its Hollywood counterpart. The film was slick and unapologetically cool with car stunts, glamorous locations and sexy actresses who for once were not just the eye candy. It was portrayed as the world that everyone wanted to be in; full of money, class and scandals that would leave you thinking twice about who was indeed the character to be trusted in the story. This was also the revival of Saif Ali Khan۪s image making him a global sex icon overnight, sexy and charismatic to a fault. Race 2۪ had high hopes with a soundtrack that had the audience wanting to see the film as soon as they could. Party On My Mind and Lat Lag Gayee have already become immensely popular with the radio listeners and have had people hitting the dance floor worldwide.
Set in the exotic landscape of Turkey with gambling and casinos at every corner, Ranveer Singh (Saif Ali Khan) arrives on scene. When his lover Sonia (Bipasha Basu) is murdered in a car blast, Ranveer makes a vow to avenge her death. Ranveer bumps into his old friend RD (Anil Kapoor) who is back as a club-owner with a new assistant Cherry (Ameesha Patel). Ranveer gets RD to introduce him to Indian mafia boss Armaan Malik (John Abraham), he is ruthless alongside sister Aleena (Deepika Padukone). After winning over Armaan۪s trust, Ranveer enters his world, making Aleena fall for him. Then the real game begins where Ranveer sets upon his challenge of finding out the truth behind his lover۪s death and winning the race.
The real question is that does this film live up to the original, Race۪, and the answer is that it really doesn۪t. Where Race۪ came across as suave and slick, this sequel does not have the same appeal. The characters are the same; they fall in love as easily as they deceive each other. Khan reprises his role effortlessly in this film, almost like he is stepping into an old pair of shoes and there is no doubt that he plays the multi-faceted character with finesse. Abraham does well playing the bad guy and his impassive face makes him the ideal playing the vindictive villain. Padukone and Jacqueline Fernandez are sizzling on screen, but whereas in ‘Race’, the actresses had bigger roles in the story, in this film they are simply there to add sex factor the frame.
Abbas-Mustan both know how to make a masala film but it just does not live up to the hype. On the surface of this film, every scene is filled with impossibly good-looking people, top end cars and some fantastic locations but that is not enough to make a good film. The storyline for the film is important too and that is what they miss out in this film. Where the first film had a remarkably well executed storyline with twists and turns, this sequel just takes too long to get going. The random introduction of characters throughout the start just makes it feels like situations happen for the sake of entertainment and not because it matters to the storyline. The second part of the film turns into a heist and that is when things get exciting but it is just not enough to make the film a must-see.
The soundtrack for this film is as always a great mix of tracks with Atif Aslam sung Be Intehaan being a hauntingly fantastic song with some lovely lyrics. The party tunes are as present as any with Party On My Mind and Lat Lag Gayee being chart toppers with a peppy beat.
No doubt this film is one that will help chase away the winter blues but don۪t expect too much from it. It should have been named as something different as being a sequel to Race۪ gives it the previous reputation to live up to. A masala film overall; all style but not much substance.
BizAsia Showbiz Star Rating: 2/5