A daring Police officer dons the role of the angry young protagonist whose self worth is calculated as a measure of songs themed around himself and by the film's ticket sales. Salman Khan and Ajay Devgan are thereby worth billions after 'Wanted', 'Dabangg' and 'Singham'. Never mind that two were remakes of South Indian blockbusters and were over-the-top, they still entertained the masala movie goer.
Prabhudeva casts Akshay Kumar as the fearless, macho, 'Rowdy Rathore' who upholds the law while challenging authoritarian villains. This, again, is a remake of a blockbuster Telugu film.
A small time thief, Shiva (Akshay Kumar), who loots houses, picks up wallets and dances with Prabhudeva, is smitten by the beautiful Paro (Sonakshi Sinha) whose mere sight makes him rewind the scene in slow motion. After all the song and dance, Shiva's life is suddenly intruded by a young girl Chutki, who claims him as her father. Even the child-hater Shiva's heart melts and he acts as her father, while he is constantly being attacked and pursued by a gang that apparently wants him dead. Shiva is left clueless about these circumstances until, in the midst of the gang attack, he is saved by the audacious Vikram Rathore, whom the world believes is dead. Rathore is a powerful force for the bad guys to confront and in a slick, yet inspired style, Prabhudeva re-directs the construction site scene before the interval. Thereafter, Shiva's Rowdiness and Rathore's brute force combine to form a better second half, which itself is a rarity of sorts.
What makes this movie watchable for its length is the focus on Vikram Rathore's story rather than that of Shiva's. The oppressive rule of the village landlord is challenged by Rathore's audacious approach of enforcing law and order, leaving trails of beaten up henchmen. Subsequent to Rathore's storyline, it is his loyal followers who convince Shiva to take revenge upon Baapji (Nassar) and free the villagers from his tyranny.
The biggest issue with 'Rowdy Rathore' however, is one of familiarity. This angry inspector out to correct the oppressive forces story has been well exploited in 'Wanted', 'Dabangg' and 'Singham'. Watching Akshay Kumar throw a few threatening words to the villain and walk away in a bold manner with things exploding behind him, is a familiar scene. Indeed, Kumar does his best to own his characters and portray something different but he too, is dictated by the South Indian films and their Bollywood remakes that have now typecast our heroes in uniforms.
What Rowdy Rathore thus ends up being is a good film for masala entertainment, similar to what its predecessors of the genre were but it leaves no impact, no residual value whatsoever because of the familiarity of the subject. Its runaway success can be attributed to the dearth of entertaining films in recent times as well but one more movie from Bollywood that's a remake of a South Indian action film and this whole trend will spiral downward and disappear into oblivion. One can only take so much of one genre at a time. After that, it all looks the same. No matter how hard Prabhudeva tries to re-invent the wheel with fly-out action, slow motion capture of fights and the might of a one-man-army Policeman, the film suffers from the lack of novelty in its approach and depiction of characters.
Akshay Kumar joins the angry cop team of action heroes and does well to portray both Shiva and Vikram Rathore's characters with whatever distinction the director could come up with. They make him dress up ridiculously in songs and dance alongside Prabhudeva, where he does manage to hold his own.
While his romantic side reminds us of Akshay Kumar's charmer days, his Vikram Rathore side reminds us of what he is capable of as an action hero whom we had almost forgotten. Yet, the romantic side misses the charm that Salman Khan carried in 'Dabangg' and his action hero side misses the convincing boldness of Ajay Devgan in 'Singham'.
Sonakshi Sinha could be eye candy for some, but not at all for others. She is one of those actresses who might disappear with the genre unless she finds a way to break free. Nassar and Yashpal Sharma portray their characters well and are the only noteworthy performances after Akshay Kumar's.
Sajid-Wajid's music suits the film's masala flavour. Some of the tracks will remain popular for a while such as Chinta ta ta chita, Chamak challo chel chhabeeli and Dhadang dhang dhang. However, it was great to hear Kumar Sanu return to singing in films with Chamak challo. The song may even become a trend at weddings.....
Rohit Shetty and Prabhudeva have brought South India to West India but it clearly is a genre waiting to take a sharp turn downward. The lack of novelty in its approach, shallow story lines, forgettable characters, over-the-top action sequences and slapstick humor indicate the dearth of creative film-making in this genre. All rests with the lead actors to pull off a below par product and convert it into a money tree. One can sit through Rowdy Rathore but only if it's under a certain price. It's paisa vasool factor is quickly diminishing in terms of a movie going experience and it's only a matter of time till it all implodes bigger than how the props explode on screen.
One can only fear the potential of more remakes, considering the fact that there are a few more action heroes out there who are keen to wake up from their slumber and they all want their actions to speak louder than words.
5.712 on a scale of 1-10.