What most interests the creators of Race 2? Action-figure posturing. Their Bollywood brawler pits two churlishly ill-defined characters against each other: Ranveer Singh (Saif Ali Khan), a man with a hero complex (he’s repeatedly referred to as “hero”), and Armaan Mallik (John Abraham), a villain who really loves money. To get back at Mallik for killing his lover, Ranveer concocts an elaborate scheme to befriend Armaan and then make him go broke. But beyond that generic imperative, the film’s hyper-convoluted heist plot is entirely haphazard. One character po-facedly jokes that Ranveer’s plot to steal the Shroud of Turin and sell it for billions of Euros is something that Hollywood has yet to try. Unfortunately, everything else about Race 2 has been done before, from the chemistry-less romantic intrigue between Ranveer and not-so-bad girl Elena (Deepika Padukone) to the lame Christopher Nolan-esque nesting-doll plot structure, replete with flashbacks and needlessly crosscut footage. Apart from the lackluster musical numbers (the only memorable sequence is the post-intermission theme song, though only because of the topless dancers wearing black cloaks and plastic devil horns), the only thing that distinguishes Race 2 from its American influences is its busy-ness.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 30, 2013