Abbas-Mustan had created the Race franchise, with mindless and twisty plots, but their films managed to entertain to some extent. They had glamour, style and a few thrills. Now, the directorial baton has been handed over to Remo D’Souza, and it is clear a few minutes into Race 3, that he dropped it. He has been given Salman Khan and a seemingly unlimited budget, which he has splurged on foreign locations, action sequences that overstay their welcome by several minutes and a script so stoned out of its mind that the film’s characters have to sit down at the end and figure out how it went. And even then, so many strands are left untangled.
Anil Kapoor plays Shamsher Singh, a super rich arms dealer who lives on Al Shifah Island (presumably somewhere in the Middle East), but he comes from a village in Uttar Pradesh, and dreams of returning there in glory some day. Meanwhile, he lapses into Bhojpuri whenever he can, mainly with sidekick Raghu (Sharat Saxena) and nephew Sikander (Salman Khan). He has grown-up twins of his own — Sanjana (Daisy Shah) and Suraj (Saqib Saleem), who call each other “bro”, and start fights with rival gangs that are invariably ended by Sikander. Yash (Bobby Deol) and femme fatale Jessica (Jacqueline Fernandez) complete the menagerie. There is also a two-scene villain (Freddy Daruwala), but with a family so evil, who needs baddies?
As it always happens in such movies, everybody is double-crossing everybody, nobody is who they seem to be. In the midst of grimacing at each other, the “bros” have to steal from a bank vault in Cambodia (why? just!) a hard disc containing visuals that can be used to blackmail Indian politicians. The price for the disc, only two billion dollars, half in bearer bonds (seriously!), for which the Singhs have to take a bank loan. When the poor banker quite correctly asks what for, he is given that “our business is our business, none of your business” line. Luckily, in Al Shifah, Aadhar is not mandatory!
Nothing makes sense, the dots do not quite connect, and as the film stretches on, with slow songs (that sound better on radio than they look on screen) to add to the boredom, even Jessica wants to know “Itne jhatke, when is this going to end?”
Salman Khan seems to have a defence mechanism to cope with such dumb films, he goes into auto-pilot mode, with a bored expression, and then at some point takes off his shirt — so does Bobby Deol.
Anil Kapoor is the only one who tries acting, the others strut around in awful costumes and try to look like they mean business... only they don’t know what business. And then, they actually have the nerve to threaten a Race 4!