Movie Review: ‘Race 2,’ a Bollywood Sequel From Abbas-Mastan

January 26th, 2013

“Race 2,” a Bollywood thriller set mostly in Turkey, has so much plot that it takes time out at the beginning to sketch in some details. As a portentous voice-over intones, we watch images of the characters on their yachts and in their fancy cars, their beautifully tailored suits straining to contain their meaty gym bodies.

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Though this sequence is dull and dispiriting, it’s honest. “Race 2,” directed by Abbas-Mastan, has little to offer besides its loving gaze at wealth and flesh.

There are women here (Deepika Padukone, Jacqueline Fernandez and Bipasha Basu, who makes a brief appearance). But the ostentatious bodies the camera can’t look away from belong to the men: John Abraham, who plays the super-bad gangster Armaan, and Saif Ali Khan, as Armaan’s nemesis, the super-bad-super-good guy Ranveer Singh.

“There’s something magnetic about you,” Armaan says to Ranveer.

“I think you’re magnetic,” Ranveer replies. Well, touché, gents, but a correction: neither of you is all that. You’re toned, dressed-up blanks, pulled out of the drawer marked International Man of Mystery. And your con-within-a-con game — the race, as you insist on calling it — has no fizz, no matter how many Champagne corks are popped.

But then you already knew that. When Omisha (Ms. Fernandez), at what seems like hours into the movie, asks Ranveer, “What happens next in this race?” he tells her, “Same thing that happened before.” His answer may be disheartening, but it’s honest.

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