Starring: Ajay Devgn, Kajal Aggarwal, Prakash Raj
Director: Rohit Shetty
Running Time: 143 mins
Singham is an Indian film about an honest, brave and strong rural police officer who is transferred to Goa City by a gangster he has humiliated. In the big city, his moral values are tested as the extreme corruption throughout the police force makes his life incredibly difficult.
You’re looking for entertainment, right? Then seek no further than Singham, the most ridiculous, off-the-chain and gleefully insane action movie you’ll ever see. Combining all manner of completely incompatible genres with preposterous action, an inhumanly perfect hero, and a kicking soundtrack, the film sounds like the recipe for disaster, but what it actually is is 2 and a half hours of pure fun.
It’s probably best to quickly explain just what this movie is first. Although I know very little of Bollywood, what I’ve read is that Singham is a throwback to a classic genre of action movies from the 70s and 80s, where reality was thrown out the window in favour of incredible theatrics and wall-to-wall entertainment. As far as reviving that style goes, I have to say that Singham is a stunning success.
Whilst there’s so much that you’ll love about this film, the one thing that’s completely unforgettable is the action. Over the course of its very long runtime, Singham effectively spaces out some brilliant action sequences that keep the pace moving extremely rapidly, and continue to bring more fun to the viewers just when you think it’s all getting a little repetitive.
But the action sequences themselves are things of absolute beauty. Taking the heavily stylised nature of the 70s and 80s action movies to another level, you won’t believe how over-the-top, unrealistic and plain idiotic some of the fight sequences are. And yet, it all fits in perfectly with the film’s delightful and fun-loving atmosphere.
Slapping a villain on the head doesn’t send him flying 20 feet into the air in reality. Singham doesn’t care. Violently whipping a bad guy until he cracks isn’t what Hollywood heroes do. Singham doesn’t care about that either. And stepping out of a powersliding car before firing a bullet at an oncoming enemy Jeep before that Jeep then flies miles into the air and then grabbing the villain out of its window before it hits the ground right behind you and then striking a pose while a lion roars isn’t all too common. But you guessed it, Singham doesn’t care one bit.
And that’s where we get onto the film’s other greatest point: Singham himself. As far as action heroes go, he’s the complete package. He’s got the charisma of James Bond, the talents of Bruce Lee and the moral code of Captain America. And an epic moustache.
So, when it comes down to it, what more do you need? Yes, he may not have a particularly compelling backstory, nor do any of his abilities have any bearing to the bounds of reality (unless it’s a super-moustache that he’s wearing), but as far as entertaining, likable and effortlessly cool movie heroes go, Singham has to be up there with the finest of all.
As you can tell then, the main thing that makes Singham such a good movie is that it’s a hell of a lot of fun to watch. However, its story isn’t quite as impressive. Although doing a great job at bringing a compelling and threatening villain to face off against Singham, and providing an exciting and interesting story, I can’t say that the screenplay here brings any real depth to any of the characters.
Appearing like the sort of superheroes and villains you see in comic books, there’s not much here to engross you beyond the madly enjoyable action, and over the course of a two and a half hour runtime, that does occasionally lead to some less entertaining moments, although that fortunately happens far less often than you’d expect.
If there’s any major issue that I have with this film, it’s the musical numbers. I said earlier that the film has a ‘kicking soundtrack’, and I stand by that, but I’m effectively referring to one song: the theme song, which plays again and again every time Singham strikes a pose or brings down a bad guy. It’s fantastically cool, and adds massively to the film’s fun-loving vibes.
However, there are also two full-on musical numbers here. Both of them love ballads, and both of woefully misplaced in the middle of a wild action ride, unfortunately throwing off the pace and atmosphere of the entire film dramatically for three or four minutes. There’s only two of them throughout the whole thing, but they do a lot of damage to the flow of such an entertaining movie when they crop up.
So, in the end, is Singham the movie that critics and historians of the future will look back on and ponder? I like to think so. But for the time being, it does exactly what it aims to do pretty much perfectly. It’s not a so-bad-it’s-good movie, rather a deliberate and loving throwback to a genre of yesteryear, and with excellent directing and acting, along with its perfectly manic atmosphere, it makes for two and a half hours of incredible fun, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.8.