December 22, 2013

Movie Review: Dhoom 3

I am hardly one to be a critic of Bollywood cinema, but I do enjoy some of the films and often feel compelled to share some thoughts. I enjoy movies from all over the world, although it seems that in some cases an understanding of the culture is needed to be able to “get” the movies. I find that to be the case with Bollywood films. I do not know a lot about Indian culture, but I do know that the approach to cinema is vastly different than that of Hollywood or many other countries. Still, I do not let that stop me from watching and enjoying the films. The latest one to cross my eyes is Dhoom: 3.

This is an action film and a sequel to a series that started back in 2004. I think the easiest way to describe it would be as a cross between Fast and Furious, The Prestige, and Now You See Me. Whether or not that is where any actual inspiration came from, I have no idea. Either way, the movie is a fun blast that plays with themes of revenge, friendship, and identity.

The movie opens in the past showing the Great Indian Circus in Chicago and a private show put on for the bank owner who holds the lien on the building. They put on their show in an effort to garner leniency from the bank for past due money. It doesn't work and the show runner, a father with his young son there, sees no way out other than suicide. The movie shifts to the present, the boy, Sahir (Aamir Khan), is all grown up and looking to relaunch the circus. However, he has other motives, taking down the bank he blames for the death of his father.

While Sahir is plotting his revenge and training with the circus, the Chicago Police Department call in a pair of cops from Mumbai to assist. Enter Jai Dixit (Ambishek Bachchan) and Ali (Uday Chopra), returning from the earlier entries in the series. This duo set about trying to capture Sahir, or, rather, the unknown criminal mastermind.

Things step up as Sahir keeps outsmarting the police, leading to the big reveal that Sahir has a twin. It is Sahir and his brother Samar who are able to use their identical looks to fool the police and put on a great circus act. The real kicker here is that Samar is mentally challenged and is kept hidden away by his vengeful brother. This really comes into focus when Samar develops feelings for the new female performer, Aaliya (Katrina Kaif).

Dhoom: 3 is a little to the predictable side, but it is still a good deal of fun. I thought the chases were entertaining, I enjoyed the song and dance numbers, and I particularly enjoyed Aamir Khan's dual role as Sahir and Samar. He does a good job of playing two very different people and being believable at it.

It is not the best made film, some of the effects are shoddy and some of the dialog is not so good, particularly for the English speakers in the cast. It plays out in the expected fashion, but it is done with style. This something that I see in most of the Bollywood films I have seen. They exist primarily in the shallow end, but offer a lot to enjoy from action to comedy to romance, it has a little bit of everything. It feels more like an event than anything else. It is not bad by any stretch, in fact it is rather enjoyable and welcome in its general lack of cynicism.

Overall, this is a fun actioner that does not feel all that deep, but still manages to involve the audience. It may be long, but it still plays pretty quick. It is well worth checking out for a different sort of movie this season.


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