Sunday, February 24, 2013

Singham, the manliest movie of 2011

I guess I don't have to warn you guys that THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. But I still will do that. So if you have any plans on watching this film, do that first then come back here. If not, then read on.

I think the title of this blog entry says it all. Prior to watching this film, I really had qualms watching Indian films in general because they tended to be really long, had song and dance parts out of nowhere. This movie singlehandedly converted me. Indian films are awesome! Jesus Ganesh take the wheel! Or something.

The movie begins with a police officer, Rakesh Kadam, being accused of being a lousy cop. The TV for some reason has nonstop shows that tell him he sucks. Seriously there must have been a cooking show or something in between those news channels. Right?

"Isn't there one channel that has Honey Boo Boo on?"

It turns out that Kadam was bribed by a number of unscrupulous men to look the other way. Kadam refused the offer, and was framed for bribery anyway. Kadam, bothered by all this bullying, reaches his breaking point and decides to kill himself in his own office.

"But... Honey Boo Boo can't be cancelled. NOOOOOO"

At first I thought that this dude was Singham, that somehow that was Kadam's nickname or something. It turns out he has little to do with the plot... yet. Meanwhile, Kadam's widow begins a campaign to clear her husband's name and get the guy who basically bullied him to death. This guy:

The movie is filled with these awesome walking shots.

 Jaikant Shikre is his name, and on the surface he runs a hotel and a construction company. But as we will soon find out, he is involved in lots of shady businesses, including drugs, kidnapping and extortion. Also, in the first few minutes since he is introduced, HE PULLS A FREAKING GUN ON A RANDOM REPORTER AND ISN'T IMMEDIATELY ARRESTED FOR IT.

Don't believe me? Well what the heck is this then?

Of course he was kinda doing it to prove a point, but anywhere else he could get sued to oblivion doing something like that. And so we get to the first song of the film, the theme song. And it is fucking awesome.

Most epic entrance ever.

Yeah, that's our title character, played by actor Ajay Devgn, rising from the Ganges like a demigod. Singham literally means "lion" and is a reference to the logo of the police force or something. Plus lions are cool. The theme song goes on and talks how Singham is a destroyer of evil, all the while showing his many good deeds, helping a cart out of a ditch with his bare hands and helping a kid in a leg cast win a running race. Wait... why was the kid running in a cast in the first place? Shouldn't he be, like, recovering at home or something? And isn't that cheating? What about all those other normal kids who ran honestly and didn't win because some dude just picked up some kid in a cast and ran him all the way to the goal?

 I mean the kid could just have waited for his leg to heal and run in another race.

 Those poor kids. Also the song features Singham doing this thing with his hands like a lion's paws:

Rawr. Alternatively, boobs.

It may look corny, but by the end of this film you'll be doing this all the time. We now move on to the bulk of the film. While that first part of the film takes place in Goa, Singham is actually the inspector in charge of Shivgarh, this out of the way country town where everyone knows everyone else. Singham uses his own brand of settling disputes among the townsfolk, to the effect that barely anyone gets arrested, nor are any cases filed. Because of this the townspeople highly respect Singham for his good heart and honesty. Not to mention the slow motion walk that he does every time he settles a dispute:

 like so.

We now go back to our buddy Jaikant Shikre and gain a glimpse of his kidnapping abilities. He has men stake out a kid, then call the boy's father (a rich businessman) before doing anything. He threatens the businessman that he will kidnap the boy if he doesn't pay up. Kind of like a prepaid thing. But with kidnapping instead of cellphone credits. We then see what happened to the kid of some poor guy who didn't pay up:

"This tie... is it made of suede?"

Shikre tells the kid that his father doesn't love him. At this point I'd expect him to let the kid go, make him a slave, sell him to Angelina Jolie, or at the very least have one of his henchmen kill the kid, something like th-



He choked the kid. WITH HIS BARE HANDS.


In a welcome break from all of the over the top evilness going on, we move back to Singham's hometown. Gautam Bhosle, a wealthy industrialist who grew up in the town, comes home for vacation. He brings along his two daughters along for the trip, and they get to know their relatives and stuff. Kavya, the elder of the two daughters, decides to have a little fun, dress up as a ghost and scare the fuck out of half the town.

Kavya eventually runs into Singham, and does the scare tactic again. Singham responds with what comes natural: a bitchslap to the face.

...and this is how all great romances begin.

 Kavya is not amused by this turn of events, and even though Singham lets her off lightly for terrorizing the population, she decides to get revenge by doing a retaliatory bitch slap at the temple, or by throwing a rock at him. However, Singham apologizes before she can do any damage, and Kelkar, Singham's poor sidekick, inadvertently gets the brunt of the retaliation.

Shit then hits the fan when a group of thugs harass Kavya with all kinds of dirty innuendos. Not only that, they push Kavya's grandfather around and steal Kavya's scarf, which is probably a no-no in the local culture.  

"This scarf looks fabulous on me!"

 Kavya's grandfather then runs over to Singham's dad, and Singham himself listens in on the conversation. He's not happy. What happens next is a crazy action scene that dwarfs anything made in Hollywood today in terms of manliness. I'm sure there are copies of that somewhere in Youtube or something, but the end result is: bad guys get whooped, and Kavya gets her scarf back. Predictably, this epic, manly ass beating proves to be quite effective on the ladies:

And Kavya then proceeds to make up crimes just to get an opportunity to be with Singham as much as possible - reporting stolen purses, cell phones, etc. Somehow I feel that this kind of thing is illegal or something, but who cares? SINGHAM.

This all comes to a head when Kavya, frustrated by the lack of progress her schemes have dealt so far, just plays it straight and confesses her love right in front everyone.

Yeah, this was my reaction too.

And we go to the next song, Saathiyaa. It's a nice song, and the musical cues leading up to this song build up quite nicely. After the song, it's all story again. Shikre bullies a random guy out of his land by coercing him to do so. As he exits the house of that man, he is approached by his guy in the police force who does all his dirty work for him. It turns out that Shikre has been judged guilty of some crime, but has been granted conditional bail: he must sign up at a local police station every fortnight. That police station is: Shivgarh.

And thus begins the first confrontation between these two dudes. Shikre has his minion do the signing for him, who then assigns to dudes to do that. Singham won't have any of these shenanigans and orders Shikre to come to the police station personally or face the consequences. Shikre then comes with a whole entourage of men to intimidate Singham:

 ...but Singham has an entire village of people to do the same thing:

"The hills are alive with the sound of muuuuuusic"
Shikre is left with no choice but to put that thumbmark on that paper or risk getting killed by a gazillion angry townspeople. He backs off, but you can see that he is not happy with the turn of events.

In Indian cinema, a movie is an experience. Moviegoers sing along to the songs or repeat their favorite lines from the movie. This movie is full of one liner gold, especially when Singham is arguing passionately about something. I guess that's how these films are designed, and it's all very entertaining.

Shikre then uses his power to have Singham transferred to Goa, his territory. Here he has the control of the police, the local government, and basically everyone else is afraid of crossing him. Not only that, Shikre is campaigning to be minister of Goa, which, if successful, will give him unlimited power. Shikre then does a number of Singham, doing acts that range from vandalism to juvenile pranks to outright trying to run over Singham with a truck:

"Welcome to Goa, Singham."
Singham then learns of Rakesh Kadam's story. Kadam is the guy who held the position that Singham now holds. The constant harassment takes its toll and Singham considers leaving Goa and returning to his post in the country, defeated. But then someone throws a beer bottle at him. Kadam's kid holds on to his leg and Singham reaches the end of his rope. He then commences performing an epic asskicking of everyone involved, culminating with The Mother of All Bitchslaps:

And it all escalates from there. Singham decides to take this head on and retaliates against Shikre, trolling him every step of the way. He then proceeds to dismantle all of the things that Shikre holds power on, using the power of a good asskicking. He plants evidence, frames people for crimes, all totally legal* stuff. This notably is seen when Singham pays the corrupt minister a visit:

*not really.

all that's missing is the Brazzers logo.

When Shikre does his kidnapping shtick on Gautam Bhosle and kidnaps Kavya's sister, Singham is pissed. He manages to stop the criminals with his overwhelming manliness, and through a bit of detective work makes Shikre's right hand man blurt out his connection to Shikre and his illegal activities.

 "hey boss I got all those tons of cocaine and... uh... whoops."

 At first you'd think Singham has won, but nope. Shikre has won the election and has used his powers to transfer Singham out of Goa and back to his hometown. Singham, after receiving an inspirational speech from one of Kadam's former subordinates, decides to take on Shikre by himself, but not before delivering an inspirational speech of his own to all the policemen in Goa:

 "we must bring Honey Boo Boo back on the air!"

 This somehow works, and every policeman in the city decides to help Singham. How do they do this? By surrounding him and his own house and discussing ways how to kill him and make it look like a suicide. I'm not fucking kidding, and it's all darkly funny for some reason. Shikre then snaps and manages to escape from the authorities, but while running he is confronted by every poor schmuck that he screwed over the course of the movie.

 Also, flying cars.

Singham and the rest of the police force corners Shikre and delivers a bit of poetic (albeit highly illegal) justice. I'm sure the CHR would throw fits or something if this happened in real life... but who cares? SINGHAM. In the end, everyone is happy except the bad guys. Happy end!

With its ridiculously over the top action scenes, hokey but addicting dialogue, and decent performances from everyone, this movie is a gem that you have to see at least once. If not for the audacity, if not for the weirdness, just for the sheer manliness. 

Monday, February 04, 2013

LSC #4: One More Final.

This scene basically encapsulates the love story that is Evangelion. During the whole series the tension between Shinji and Asuka boils over, but neither one knows how to communicate their love to each other. The best either one can manage is a quick fap for Shinji and... nothing for Asuka, really.

Cut to this scene. Everyone is Tang except these two. Shinji decides to live with the pain of individuality and he sees this person. Maybe there's frustration in what he does next, maybe he just wants to validate Asuka's existence. So he chokes a bitch.

Instead of kicking Shinji's ass, Asuka retaliates with a gentle caress. "Yes, I am here," she expresses from just that one touch. Shinji cries like a little wuss. But deep inside he is a bit relieved that she is there, for the moment, truly alive, with him.

Indeed, love is destructive.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

LSC#3: Deadman Wonderland

awww, isn't that sweet.

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that these two like each other. Decapitation/mutilation/complete insanity aside.

The manga seems to be wrapping up so look out for that.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

LSC#2: Fight Club.

It's against the rules to talk anything else about this film, but it's a story about growing up and accepting the fact that the annoying bitch you want to punch in the face is actually the girl of your dreams. (nightmares?) It takes the main character a while to get it, but as we can see above, it happens.

Hence the film and book (the film seems to take it a bit further) explores this. Along with a bunch of guys getting punched in the face. Also, guys getting kicked in the face.

Here's to these two destroying each other in the name of love.

Friday, February 01, 2013

LSC#1: Wolf Guy.

You know, if you look past all the rape and ultra violence of this seinen manga, (did I mention rape? RAPE) It's basically a love story. I mean, Inugami, the main character, really just wants to go to school and be a normal (wolf) guy. I bet he loves Classical Japanese or something.

So teacher gets hot for him and hijinks ensue. It must be the animal magnetism. Unfortunately, it doesn't help that a lot of the guys he meets are either complete psychopaths, perverted horny assholes, or both. Ye gads! Conflict! (Also rape.)

117 chapters later, it ends as it should. (Thankfully, not with rape.)

Also, dragon chick was hot. She adds a whole new layer to girls digging only assholes. A thick, impenetrable layer covered in rape.

It's February, and it's time for...


February, ahhh, the month of love.


I've hated Valentine's Day ever since I was a kid. Every year it would mean something horrible. Like an injury, or some ridiculous thing that would convince me that this is the month where the universe is personally after my ass.

Anyway, until the 14th, I'm going to feature several films, books, series, comics or anime that are basically love stories at their core, or are fucked up in some way due to love. These posts are not going to be as in depth as my normal reviews, but some of them may offer an alternative insight for things that may not be normally considered a love story.

So look out for that... and hope I don't get bored halfway.