Watching Baaghi 3 on Friday morning made me realise something I hadn’t before. Even Tiger Shroff’s eyelids have a six-pack. Which probably explains why his eyes — along with the rest of his face, of course — have the same vacant expression throughout. Tiger’s ripped abs ripple at will and his biceps seem to have a life of their own, but not a single muscle on that chiselled face moves to convey any emotion.
Like the first two films, Baaghi 3 has a plot as thin as the vest that barely covers Tiger’s rippling muscles, most of which he tears out in slo-mo in the middle of every action sequence. By film number three, our boy rebel Ronnie (Tiger) doesn’t want to limit himself to fighting local thugs or self-styled mafia bosses. He’s now graduated to single-handedly waging war on an entire country, in this case Syria. At one point in the film, Ronnie is described to be as powerful as America, Russia and the Mossad. We are still trying to process that one.
So how does one-man army Ronnie land up on the dusty plains of Syria (the film’s been shot in Serbia, by the way) from the bylanes of Agra? To rescue his kidnapped elder brother Vikram (Riteish Deshmukh) from the clutches of a terrorist group that’s very unimaginatively named Jaish-e-Lashkar. So the second half of Baaghi 3 is a string of random action sequences strung together as Ronnie ravages an already-ravaged Syria in search of Vikram. “I will find you and I will kill you,” is his Taken-styled mission. But without the gleeful guilty pleasure that comes with watching Liam Neeson knuckle-punch his way through his adversaries.
Granted, the Baaghi films don’t really exist to stimulate our brain cells. Jaw-dropping action is what we are expected to sign up for. But there is nothing in Baaghi 3 — director Ahmed Khan is also the ‘action designer’ here — that you haven’t seen Tiger do before. That is if you can digest the fact that he’s now not content to just kick and punch people any more. Ronnie uses his bare hands to wrestle three flying helicopters at one go and smoothly slides under war tanks without breaking into a sweat. In one scene, he jumps from the balcony of a house to latch on to the tail of a helicopter just so that he can pose for a 360-degree top-shot while standing atop the helicopter. A two-minute scene has him bungee jump in reverse and chain-kick a score of baddies.
Even when he’s taking on people, Ronnie doesn’t keep it simple. A sudden gust of wind rises around him whenever he lands a punch. That soon turns into a tornado. In one scene, a sandstorm swirls as he fells at least six goons with one punch. There is, of course, no desert or beach in sight. Ronnie’s bone-breaking exercises are almost always courtesy Vikram landing in some kind of trouble. “Mujhpe aati hain toh main chhod deta hoon, mere bhai pe aati hain toh main phod deta hoon,” is the only line Ronnie is given to spout before, during and after every action sequence. We stopped keeping count after he said it — of course with that trademark vacant expression — a dozen times.
Almost nothing makes sense in the world of Baaghi 3. The kingpin of Jaish-e-Lashkar is a terrorist-cum-linguist who often shows off his knowledge of 44 languages. Vikram cries while watching comedy films and is inexplicably verbally dyslexic. For example, he says, “Main tera kol phol doonga” instead of “Main tera pol khol doonga”. This is, as expected, mined for laughs in the film. Riteish, otherwise a fine actor, is so terrible in the part that he almost makes Tiger look like Marlon Brando in a few scenes.
Shraddha Kapoor — who starred in Baaghi, disappeared in Baaghi 2 and resurfaces in this film —is the token female presence. She doesn’t break into a jig every time it rains like she did in Baaghi, but her Siya does have the habit of barging into male restrooms where she believes her phone network works better. Parasite, anyone? Shudder.
There’s also a villain called IPL (played by Jaideep Ahlawat) who is given to deliver lines like, “Yeh toh gumrah kar ke Bumrah ki tarah ball phenk raha hain”. Vijay Varma pops in as a Pakistani con man and then disappears inexplicably, but not before saying stuff like, “Mujhe follow karo. TikTok pe nahin, tok tok pe… matlab raste pe chal ke”. And because this is a Tiger Shroff film, we have special appearances from Jackie Shroff and Disha Patani.
Baaghi 3 ends with Tiger and Shraddha dancing to a headache-inducing version of Dus bahane, coupled with the ominous promise of ‘Baaghi 4’. We could give you dus bahane — and then some more — why this franchise needs to die. But then, who’s listening? Certainly not ‘Baaghians’.
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