Now, I can be a bit of a churl when I am reviewing movies. But honestly, my expectation from a regular Tamil masala movie is simply that it go about its business without fuss and not make too many mistakes.

If the hero wants to beat up a score of snarling interchangeable henchmen all by his lonesome, I can live with that. If he wants to pause in mid-rant against a drug-dealing uber-villain to convey how much said baddie’s greed and malice saddens him, that’s fine too. Useless, really, but fine. Whatever floats his boat. I’m not a big fan of chest-thumping jingoism either, but I’m willing to let that one pass too.

I begin to get pretty concerned when the hero slaps a woman he is angry with. And more than just a bit concerned when a Nigerian villain is repeatedly called an African animal.

But then you have a scene where a bunch of miscreants are surrounded by cops and beaten up for having disturbed the peace, complete with “punch dialogue” that references the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. The subsequent visuals depict these guys desperately trying to scale a nearby wall and getting pulled back and beaten up by cops… Even if the dialogue disclaims that they were patriots whereas these are just criminals, the scene leaves such a bad taste in the mouth that the I am unable to get past it, even hours after having watched the film.

Or maybe I’m just being overly sensitive here. So let’s ignore the fact that the hero is a fascist chauvinistic bigot and see if the rest of the film has anything good to offer.

And the answer, dear reader, is: not really. The plot is serviceable for a masala movie (cop takes down local and international drug smugglers in Tuticorin), and a few of the more procedural aspects are well done (there’s a lot of cell phone tracking and suchlike), but that is scant consolation in the midst of nearly three hours of dreck.

Much of the dreck can be attributed to the comedy tracks (two, not one), the heroines (again two, not one) and the songs (of such execrable quality that even one would count as a culpable offence).

And amidst all this stands Surya, an honest cop saddled with the onerous task of policing an entire district that is hard of hearing. (You know he is undercover in the first few scenes because he speaks in a normal voice for most of the time. Once he dons his uniform, even aliens in distant galaxies can hear him loud and clear.)

For those of you who have fond memories of the first film, that bit where they superimpose a roaring lion’s face on that of Surya during fight sequences is not present here. Present instead is a song that advertises something called Singam Dance, which I think is what you get when you slip Alex (from Madagascar) some horse laxative and make him dance to Gangnam Style.

After the horrors of Himmatwala and now this, is it any surprise that these magnificent animals are on the brink of extinction? I mean, what self-respecting beast would allow itself to be associated with… humans like these?

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