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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 22 July 2018

Race 3 review: Patchy in places but Salman Khan stays true to franchise

Race 3 keeps in the spirit of the first two movies in the franchise, but Jacqueline Fernandez was wasted 

Bobby Deol, Salman Khan and Jacqueline Fernandes in "Race 3". Courtesy twofour54
Bobby Deol, Salman Khan and Jacqueline Fernandes in "Race 3". Courtesy twofour54

Paradoxically we start discussing the genesis of this movie from its ending.

With any movie franchise, the question at the climax is: are we going to have another one? And Race 3 producer-actor Salman Khan tells the viewers straight-up: there definitely will be.

With that in mind, Race 3's scripting had to overcome a few jerks to culminate in Anil Kapoor as Shamsher Singh declaring he will be back. Salman spoils it by stating the obvious with a cunning smile: “Will I be part of it?”

For Salman fans, this is news they would like to hear. As tradition goes, the actor will be back with Race 4 next Eid after taking over production rights of the sequel. Should we look forward to it?

Based on how Race 3 was done, there are a few pointers that could be handy for the suspense-thriller genre film. For starters, the good news is that this installment built on the plot twists and turns which were a big reason for the success of the first two.

As the popular trailer indicated, Salman played to his strengths - witty one-liners in an action-packed story in his familiar backyard - the UAE. The bad news is that it appears Salman put too much on his plate.

It was only late last year that the movie was confirmed by Abbas-Mastan, the pair behind the birth of Race franchise. Salman, reeling under the setback of his last Eid offering Tubelight, came on board and immediately did away with the producer duo. He insisted on rookie director Remo D’Souza as his man at the steering wheel.

Saif Ali Khan dropped out. That left Anil Kapoor as the only common connection with all three films in the franchise. The charitable Salman also threw a lifeline to some old friends such as Bobby Deol and Daisy Shah and even scripted a few songs.

All this when the movie only got on the floors in November with a six-month race against time. Salman then was sentenced to a five-year jail term in an old black buck poaching case and is out on bail. But travel restrictions meant some scenes had to be done in Jaisalmer for “patchwork” as co-producer Ramesh Taurani himself put it.

That patchwork is evident, jarring and takes away from the real star of the film - the scenes showing Abu Dhabi in its resplendent glory. Ayananka Bose, the director of photography, had it easy showcasing the beauty of the Emirates Palace as the mansion of Shamsher Singh and other locations as offered by the Abu Dhabi-based Twofour54. Adding some charm is the vivacious Jacqueline Fernandez (Jessica).

Anil Kapoor in "Race 3". Courtesy twofour54
Anil Kapoor in "Race 3". Courtesy twofour54

A big disappointment has been D’Souza who did not play to his strengths where he could while Salman overplayed his. A choreographer-turned director, he absolutely wasted Fernandez when it came to the dance numbers, especially the tasteful Allah Dubai Hai track on a hotel rooftop. The actress was well-committed, learnt martial arts and even hurt her eye causing permanent damage in the process.

For some reason we go to a song in snow-clad mountains of Kashmir when everything else is filmed in the desert. When the action, under the supervision of Hollywood stunt director Tom Struthers, is on a range of supercars and worth millions going up in smoke, Salman appears in a Superman-like suit.

Watch the movie if you can ignore blemishes like that. And Salman Khan fans will definitely watch it. For the rest, he seems to be sticking his nose up like the movie line, “our business is our business, none of your business.”

Race 3

Produced: Salman Khan Films and Tips Films
Director: Remo D’Souza
Cast: Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor, Jacqueline Fernandez, Bobby Deol, Daisy Shah, Saqib Salem
Rating: 2.5 stars