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The Best Movies to Watch on Paramount+ Right Now
The streaming war is always intensifying, and that means one thing for viewers — more options. Maybe too many. On the plus side, all of those options means some healthy competition, even when it comes to newer streaming services, like Paramount+ . Don’t believe us? Well, some of the best movies to watch on Paramount+ right now speak volumes about the platform’s ability to deliver quality programming.
Whether you’re looking for an action flick, a spy thriller , the latest horror hit or a laugh-out-loud comedy , Paramount+ has it all. As the platform’s slogan boasts, it offers a “mountain of entertainment”, from network TV shows and original series to some of the hottest movies streaming in 2022.
Sci-Fi Movies on Paramount+
Star trek — every film, live-action series and animated show.
Star Trek is one of the most recognizable and highest-grossing media franchises of all time. So, if you’re a “ Trekkie ”, subscribing to Paramount+ is a must.
Whether you want to revisit a classic film, like Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979); tune into one of the blockbusters you missed, like Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989); or catch up on a series like Picard (2020–), this is the platform for you. Live long, and prosper, Paramount+ subscribers.
If you like sci-fi but want something that dips into the psychological horror realm, try Annihilation , which is currently streaming on Paramount+. Written and directed by Alex Garland ( Ex Machina ), the film revolves around Lena (Natalie Portman), a former soldier and biologist who volunteers to enter Area X — a strange swathe of land full of mutated creatures and plant life.
Initially, Lena’s intrigue stems from wanting to know what happened to her husband (Oscar Isaac), who’s presumed dead. After all, anyone who enters this mutated zone doesn’t return. But along with a team of equally skilled scientists and soldiers — Tessa Thompson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodrigeuz — Lena becomes wrapped up in something much more threatening and captivating than she could’ve ever imagined. Thought-provoking and eerie, Annihilation was easily one of 2018’s best films.
If you ask any movie enthusiast to list the best movies of the 2010s, they’ll likely name Interstellar , Christopher Nolan’s ( Inception ) epic sci-fi blockbuster. It’s proof, yet again, that Nolan pulls out all the stops — not just in terms of production value, but story, too.
Starring Matthew McConaughey as a former astronaut, Interstellar centers on a group of space-goers who’re attempting to find a new home for humankind when Earth’s on the brink of inhabitability. Deep, sprawling and both incredibly creative and scientifically accurate, Interstellar is anchored by incredible performances — greats like Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway round out the ensemble — and serves up a journey you won’t soon forget.
Movies on Paramount+ For Cinephiles
Django unchained (2012).
Django Unchained is, without a doubt, a modern classic. Set in pre-Civil War America, the revisionist Western stars Jamie Foxx as Django, a formerly enslaved person who, with the help of a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz), is on a mission to rescue his wife (Kerry Washington) from a cruel plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio).
Directed by Quentin Tarantino ( Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood ), Django Unchained is a must-watch movie — and reason enough to subscribe to Paramount+.
The Godfather Trilogy
The Godfather (1972) turned 50 earlier this year , but the Francis Ford Coppola film is a classic for a reason — and watching it once certainly isn’t enough. Not to mention, the Oscar-winning sequel, The Godfather: Part II (1974), is the rare follow-up that’s often considered to be even better than the original movie.
The epic crime series follows Vito Corleone, the Don (a.k.a. head) of a New York-based Mafia enclave, and his sons and associates — namely, Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), who later becomes the head of the family and Vito’s successor. The Godfather shaped the gangster genre as we know it, teaching us all many invaluable lessons — like to leave the gun but always take the cannolis .
“Are you not entertained? Is this not why you’re here?” That’s the question Maximus asks, yes, but it’s also something of a tagline for Paramount+, which is currently streaming the 2000s classic Gladiator .
With epic cinematography, this captivating historical drama follows the former Roman general (Russell Crowe) as he seeks vengeance for the murder of his family by the corrupt Emperor (Joaquin Phoenix). Let’s just say, it’s one of Ridley Scott’s ( Alien ) best and most beloved for a reason.
Laugh-Out-Loud Comedy Movies on Paramount+
Anchorman: the legend of ron burgundy (2004).
If you’re into comedy, Paramount+ has a lot to offer, and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is a great place to start. The movie follows the life of a somewhat-absent-minded and childish local news anchor, Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell), who struggles to adapt when the San Diego-based news program hires a woman, the intelligent and much more serious reporter Veronica Corningstone (Christina Applegate), as his co-anchor.
With unmatched performances from Ferrell, Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell and other comedy greats, Anchorman is an incredibly funny movie nearly two decades later. Subscribe, stream and stay classy , Paramount+ subscribers!
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run (2020)
Want to lighten the mood with some animated comedy? Paramount Animation’s edgy animated film, The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run , takes Nickelodeon’s beloved Spongebob Squarepants series to new heights. In this one, Spongebob (voice of Tom Kenny) and Patrick (voice of Bill Fagerbakke) must embark on a rescue mission to save Spongebob’s pet snail, Gary, from King Poseidon.
Not to mention, the Bikini Bottom residents’ adventure to the Lost City of Atlantic City also features the talent of Keanu Reeves, Snoop Dogg and Awkwafina, among others. So, if you’re into laughs and you’ve never watched this fun, lighthearted adventure, Paramount+ has your back.
Franchise Favorites Movies on Paramount+
Mission: impossible — yes, all 6 of them.
It’s almost a mission impossible to resist Tom Cruise , who has all the charm and chops of an old-school movie star. The Mission: Impossible franchise is not only a great way to revisit Cruise’s work, but it’s all full of the fun, thrilling action that makes us love Hollywood blockbusters so much. And Paramount+ doesn’t just give you access to one or two of the Mission: Impossible films, but all six installments.
If you’ve exhausted the list of must-watch horror movies you, undoubtedly, keep in your Notes app, you might want to try Scream (2022) — the fifth installment in the long-running horror slasher series created by Kevin Williamson ( Dawson’s Creek ). While familiar faces like “final girl” Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and reporter Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) make an appearance here, the latest installment also introduces characters played by some of the best young adult actors working today.
The incredible cast includes Melissa Barrera ( Vida ), Mason Gooding ( Booksmart ), Dylan Minnette ( 13 Reasons Why ), Jack Quaid ( The Boys ), Jenna Ortega ( X ) and Jasmin Savoy Brown ( Yellowjackets ), just to name a few stars. And while Scream (2022) certainly offers a lot of fan-service, it’s still a great first film to jump into for those who’ve never encountered Ghostface before.
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It’s a juicy proposition for fanboys and girls of both actors. A sort of millennial throwback to the 90s showdown between Sanjay Dutt and Jackie Shroff in Subhash Ghai's 'Khalnayak'.
War Movie Review: Lot of style, stunts and show, but lacks a solid storyline
- Times of India
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Zee cine awards.
raghu6300386775 raghu 99 705 days ago
Stylish making and grand action.
shivnathkumar 772 days ago
Vishalsingh 797 days ago, avigyan chakrabarti 838 days ago.
I have to admit this that War is one of the finest Indian action films of the year! The film is not for a second slow or boring, and despite the long duration never feels dragged. Plus, it's jam-packed with nonstop action and some really surprising twists that make it a spellbinding action thriller. Also the movie features my favourite superstars like Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff. The movie featured many stunts, which makes it an interesting movie too.
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- This film marks the first collaboration of uncle-nephew duo Anil Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor. Arjun is the son of Anil’s brother Boney Kapoor. Share
- This film marks the first collaboration of uncle-nephew duo Anil Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor. Arjun is the son of Anil’s brother Boney Kapoor.
- This is the second time Arjun Kapoor is playing a double role, the first being Aurangzeb (2013).
- The song ‘Yamma yamma’ from ‘Shaan’ is sampled in the song ‘Partywali Night' for the film.
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The new Bollywood action-adventure “War” is probably only for fans of marquee-topping actors Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff , the former of whom stars in the goony but likable superhero series “Krrish” and the latter of whom will star in an upcoming, officially licensed Indian Rambo remake. Stylistically, “War” is Maximum Masala, and maybe features more tonal shifts and berserk plot twists and convolutions than even established Indian film buffs can handle.
“War” features: a couple of good-enough musical numbers; “ Top Gun ”-levels of homoeroticism, intended or otherwise; way too much who-is-the-mole intrigue; a superfluous romantic sub-plot that dove-tails with a random Christmas scene involving a cute widdle kid; an entertaining motorcycle chase where the two dueling stars link arms and spin around like computer-graphics-enhanced dervishes; an endearingly sappy plot tangent involving the mother of Shroff’s character; and a show-stopping church-set hammer fight that follows a sports-car chase across a frozen river. Many muscle shirts, computer-graphics artists, and wind machines were put to great and terrible use on this movie. Thankfully, established Desi/Bollywood fans may find that “War” rewards more than it tests their patience (barely, but still).
Roshan and Shroff play Kabir and Khalid, respectively, two smoldering Indian anti-terrorist spies who are out to nab evil international arms dealer/terrorist Rizwan Ilyasi (Sanjeev Vasta), who looks weirdly like Geoffrey Rush cosplaying as Fran Leibowitz, dressed as he in red circular-framed glasses, cream-colored khakis, and white pinstriped jacket. But before Kabir and Khalid set off to catch Vasta’s flamboyant-looking, but barely-developed baddie, the two leads take a while to size each other up. Which makes sense since “War” is basically structured like a bonkers “Marvel Team-Up” jam session, only starring two of Bollywood’s biggest contemporary stars instead of Spider-Man and Ben Grimm.
Kabir doesn’t want to work with Khalid, not even after a (genuinely fun) establishing action scene where Khalid disarms a room full of drug-dealers in what looks like one long take. A pair of sudsy reasons are given for Kabir’s on sight enmity—Khalid’s dad betrayed his country! Also: Khalid has bad peripheral vision!—but these are obviously just excuses to get Roshan and Shroff to give each other sexy looks, declare their love for India, and dance together (it’s an okay dance number, mind you, but both stars have done better).
The same is basically true about, oh, all of the immaterial plot. Two handsome leading men, both of whom amass bloody scars across their chiseled cheek bones and jawlines, must work together despite their mutual fear of betrayal. Never mind Kabir’s hetero-romantic sub-plot with single mom Naina ( Vaani Kapoor ), a civilian asset who becomes reluctantly involved with Kabir’s plan to catch Ilyasi; Kabir and Naina’s romance is tellingly only emphasized at the start of the film’s post-intermission second half. “War” frequently promises and sometimes delivers a series of over-the-top confrontations between Roshan and Shroff, the latter of whom goes to weird lengths to make Roshan seem like the sturdier of the two stars (Shroff pouts a lot , is all I’ll say).
Fans of Roshan and Shroff will probably flock to “War” for a handful of fun, gonzo set pieces that are immodestly dispersed throughout a litany of densely over-written, meagerly thought-through dialogue scenes. Both types of scenes can be fun. I’m rather partial to a later scene where Kabir retro-actively explains, through a series of flashbacks, the underlying method to his investigation’s maddening trajectory. So while the “four invisible chess pieces” metaphor that Kabir uses to both explain and applaud himself is gibberish, the montage that’s used to illustrate Kabir’s insane plan is as dynamic and goofy as the explanatory kicker at the end of a satisfyingly pulpy whodunit. If you’re going to “War,” you should probably go expecting some high-toned nonsense.
“War” works best when it’s a Michael Bay-goes-Bollywood take on the “ Mission: Impossible ” films. What makes this a dicey proposition (for some): there’s a lot more “ Mission: Impossible II ”—and the “Heroic Bloodshed” spirit of John Woo , that sequel’s director—in this movie than I suspect many readers will care for. An out-of-left field bungee-jumping scene ends with one hero nervously walking away from oncoming cops after the other guy swings around a bridge and swan-dives into the water below. This scene is nutty, and not altogether well-made, but its creators’ dedication to flamboyant excess will be appreciated by fans.
My only warning for those who are interested in “War”: don’t go in expecting a smooth ride. There’s too much narrative padding and only some of it is the good kind of silly. There have been crazier Indian action movies this year (“Saaho” being the most recent) and more effective spy-thrillers, too (“India’s Most Wanted,” of all things). But “War” is satisfying for what it is: a star vehicle that’s too weird to be dismissed, and too plodding to completely work.
Simon Abrams is a native New Yorker and freelance film critic whose work has been featured in The New York Times , Vanity Fair , The Village Voice, and elsewhere.
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War movie review: Hrithik Roshan-Tiger Shroff drama is high on action, low on story
War movie review: With swag, style and sass in abundance, where is the substance in Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff’s new film?
War Director - Siddharth Anand Cast - Hrithik Roshan, Tiger Shroff, Vaani Kapoor
War has swag, style and sass in abundance, and comes peppered with high-octane action scenes, car-and-bike chases and jaw-dropping series of twists. What else do you expect from a film that has Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff as the lead pair?
Directed by Siddharth Anand, War is an espionage thriller that serves you with just the right amount of action, humour and tops it with ridiculously good-looking people. However, don’t expect too much from story because with two bonafide action stars fighting it out on the big screen, everything else is secondary.
War opens with Kabir ( Hrithik Roshan ), a rogue agent, killing his own. Through a flashback sequence, it is established how he met Khalid ( Tiger Shroff ) who went on to join his unit in an intelligence agency. Story takes an interesting turn when Khalid, who has always worshipped Kabir as his mentor, is assigned the task of finding and arresting him. Khalid is also supposed to find out why Kabir went bad and another flashback sequence post intermission reveals his reasons.
Watch War public review
Throughout War, Hrithik and Tiger’s onscreen camaraderie is on point. It is the USP of the film — just as makers intended. Each frame where the two appear together receives whistles and cheers from fans. Whether they’re fighting or dancing, or just flaunting their six-pack abs and chiselled bodies — it’s nothing short of a visual treat. The best aspect of War is that no actor is aiming for one-upmanship, instead you see them feeding off each other’s energy. There’s a pleasant comic vibe, too, between Hrithik and Tiger and director Siddharth Anand uses it cleverly without it sounding awkward.
Hrithik — Bollywood’s resident Greek god, unapologetically flaunts his age and swag. You’d love those wrinkles. Tiger — the hot favourite among youth — delivers an honest performance even though he seems absolutely star struck by his reel and real life mentor. But who’s complaining?
Unfortunately, War doesn’t give any scope to its female lead to perform. Vaani Kapoor only appears in the film in its second half, and before you can even understand what her role in the plot is, she disappears. The 20-minute forced cameo, with a song thrown in, doesn’t impress one bit. Vaani’s role seems to be limited to adding glamour to the film. It’s sad that even in today’s day and age, that’s what many filmmakers cast female actors in their film for.
And you’ll feel the same for supporting actors too. Fine performers such as Ashutosh Rana and Soni Razdan are wasted in War, even though they somewhat justify their screen time with whatever little comes their way. Anupriya Goenka, however, does make her presence felt.
The one element that you get in abundance in War is beautifully-choreographed action. The first half has these sequences in plenty and it only gets better in the second half. Shot at exotic international locales like Morocco and Portugal, as well as Delhi and Kerala, the film excels in the action department. War gives a callback to action extravaganzas such as Mission Impossible and Fast & Furious, and Hrithik’s earlier outings Dhoom 2 and Bang Bang.
Amid all this, you wonder what happened to the story if at all there was any. Just like we had Saaho a month back which was all things action but no story, War too makes you question why filmmakers don’t put enough thought into having a substantial plot. War suffers from a relatively weak screenplay that does not go unnoticed as the two good-looking actors overshadow everything else.
Also, no matter which genre a film belongs too, if it’s Bollywood, you can’t do without songs. However, we have no complaints as it is a treat to watch Tiger and Hrithik dancing together. Jai Jai Shivshankar might seem like it came out of nowhere but when these two show you their moves, you just can’t enough of them.
War, a big spectacle film, is definitely worth a watch for the sheer joy of seeing this dream pair of Hrithik and Tiger on the silver screen.
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War movie review: Hrithik Roshan starrer is flashy but familiar
War movie review: the chief trouble with war is that all the space is divvied up between hrithik roshan and tiger shroff, that the poor baddies don’t really get a chance..
War movie cast: Hrithik Roshan, Tiger Shroff, Ashutosh Rana, Vaani Kapoor, Anupriya Goenka War movie director: Siddharth Anand War movie rating : Two stars
What do you expect when you have the two most beautifully-muscled, elastic bods in Bollywood playing I spy in a Yashraj movie?
Every frame bristling with the combined smirk-and-swag of Hrithik-Tiger? Check. Lavish locations all around the world? Present and accounted for. Lots of fast-paced chases? War has all of the above, and yet, it’s in the not quite there zone. Not quite smart enough, and most importantly, not quite new enough.
The set-up has promise. Agent Kabir (Roshan) who is a patriot to beat all desh-bhakts, has gone rogue. Former star-struck pupil Agent Khalid (Shroff) is assigned by chief spymaster (Rana) to track Kabir, and the cat-and-mouse chase, of one man on the tail of another, is as old as the spy saga itself. Veteran movie spies like Bond and Bourne and their minders have to work very hard to keep us glued with newer, flashier plot devices, spiffier toys and yes, deadlier enemies. In War, you can see the twists coming a mile off.
War’s insistence on being a family entertainer leads it towards the predictable template of song-and-dance, played-for-laughs dialogue-baazi-in-fights, teary mothers and loving sons. A rumbustious Holi dance in the middle of a remote outpost gives our lads, who move like greased lightning, a chance to shake their admirable booties. But it also makes us roll our eyes, which would be fine if the film was in full-on comic book mode. But of course, it’s not.
All the space is gobbled up by Hrithik and Tiger, and they are so busy strutting across the screen, in all their glory, so ripped, so brawny, that the poor baddies don’t really get a chance. Not one scary villain who sends the shivers down our spines? Then the spies might as well be playing ring-around-the-roses with each other.
Scads full of cash must have been needed to take the cast from as diverse places as Portugal to Sydney to Kerala, and there’s no been stinting there. But a story with freshness and zing? Missing in action. It talks of the ‘desh ke dushman’ as did movies of the 70s and 80s; dated dialogues which combine ‘Musalmaan’ and ‘vatanparasti’ only add to the casual bigotry which is becoming common parlance these days.
The girls, Vaani Kapoor as a lissome dancer, and Anupriya Goel as an ace code-cracker, get some air-time, but it’s the boys who have all the fun: falling off choppers, zooming about in fast cars, diving off bridges, getting in some bloody fisticuff-time. Shroff shouldn’t ever team up with Roshan again though; on his own, Tiger is a dream dancer with jaw-dropping moves, and can take on five hundred armed desperadoes; when Hrithik is around, though, he recedes into the background.
The last time Hrithik looked as sexy, was in Dhoom 2 (2006), also a Yashraj film. The golden streaks have been replaced with a bit of grey at the temples, but the bronzed cheekbones decorated with a few fetching scars, the fighting-fit figure in fatigues-and-dark-glasses and the case-hardened look, is full eye-candy. I’m not revealing anything by telling you that War looks all set to be a franchise: next time maybe go complete comic-book silly? Now that’s a spy I will buy.
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War movie review: hrithik roshan and tiger shroff film is 154 minutes of only action, war, starring hrithik roshan, tiger shroff, ashutosh rana and vaani kapoor is what results out of a delay in kickstarting dhoom 4..
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If we told you that the Hrithik Roshan-Tiger Shroff starrer War was actually directed by Abbas-Mustan, and not Siddharth Anand, you’d believe us by the end of the 2-hour-34-minute action thriller. Such are the twists and turns. A particular scene where Hrithik Roshan aka Kabir literally drives off an about-to-crash Army plane in a Jeep quite like Saif Ali Khan and John Abraham’s Race 2 makes it extra believable.
But then, it is no Abbas-Mustan film; it's Aditya Chopra all the way. And quite frankly, the result of all the pent-up Dhoom 4 energy. We feel ya, Adi. We’re not complaining.
Kabir is the best agent India has, because when has Bollywood ever made a film about the second best? He reports to a rather paunchy Ashutosh Rana aka Colonel Luthra, who in turn reports to a Nirmala Sitharaman-looking Defence Minister. We meet Kabir at a point when he’s supposedly gone rogue killing highly placed India administrators, against orders, of course. Like in every other spy thriller Bollywood gives us.
The very next scene introduces us to Tiger aka Khalid, a promising young fellow, with dreams of making the nation and his Ammi proud in his squinty eyes. But with zero preparedness, he jumps into a room where, we’re told, a weapons’ deal is being hatched, in his white linen pants, a blue tee, no guns and the ugliest cell phone we’ve ever seen since Siemens C35. He, of course, beats them to a pulp, singlehandedly. And you know that, if nothing else, War is going to be paisa wasool.
After much persuasion from Rana, where he most likely yelled Sangharsh-style at least once, Kabir lets Khalid join his uber-secret team that’s about to set out on a mission to nab a 'global terrorist'. No, we’re not taking names. But Kabir and Khalid have a bone: Kabir shot Khalid’s 'gaddar’ father dead; can Khalid accept his father’s murderer as his boss? Yes, he can, if it’s about the watan and that right there, is what makes War a perfect Gandhi Jayanti release.
What follows is a series of high-profile chase scenes from two years ago in order to first establish Kabir and Khalid’s camaraderie, which includes a dance duet, and from present-day to establish how Kabir’s best student is the only one who can bring him down. Frankly, the chase scenes are a haze, partly because of the dust storm they conjured up, and partly because they all look the same; only bikes turn into cars.
The plotline has enough loopholes to put a tea-infuser to shame. But, in War’s defence, it delivers what it actually promised since its promo: two good looking men (one more than the other) clashing, along with action that will keep you on the edge of your seat. If anyone went in expecting path-breaking cinema, well, why?
Now to the performances. Tiger tries, and the more he tries, the more he squints. His voice gets shrill and shriller until the climax, and you need to watch War for that. Hrithik, on the other hand, doesn’t walk or run to the top spot. He glides, with a swagger he had mastered way back in Dhoom 2, and then in Bang Bang. Yet, in scenes where both men clench their teeth and pop their veins, which, in Bollywood-language translates into intense acting, Ashutosh Rana emerges as more natural and thus, more human.
The film also stars Vaani Kapoor, and since she doesn’t make an appearance until after the interval, and that too, for literally three scenes and a song, you will need this reminder.
War credits Vishal Dadlani, Daniel B George (background score) and Shekhar Ravjiani for its music, but it is strictly passable. The background score works when accentuated by the sound of engines revving, but otherwise remains unnoticed. Ghungroo stands out in comparison to Jai Jai Shiv Shankar. That’s just about 50 per cent for Vishal Dadlani.
War is a crowd-puller, but it isn’t meant to further the cause of cinema. It will entertain you. But if you plan to take something away from a film, watch Joker instead.
2.5 stars out of 5 for War.
ALSO READ | Joker movie review: Joaquin Phoenix gives performance of a lifetime in deeply disturbing film
ALSO READ | War early reviews: Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff film is a must watch, says Bollywood
ALSO READ | War: When Tiger Shroff performed parkour on top of 100 houses in Italy
ALSO READ | No spoilers please: Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff urge fans to protect War
ALSO WATCH | Tiger Shroff on Disha Patani, trolls and SOTY 2
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2019, Action/Mystery & thriller, 2h 30m
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Two men collide in a barrage of battles and bullets.
Genre: Action, Mystery & thriller
Original Language: Hindi
Director: Siddharth Anand
Producer: Aditya Chopra
Writer: Aditya Chopra , Siddharth Anand
Release Date (Theaters): Oct 2, 2019 limited
Release Date (Streaming): Nov 28, 2019
Box Office (Gross USA): $4.4M
Runtime: 2h 30m
Distributor: Yash Raj Films
Production Co: Yash Raj Films
Sound Mix: Dolby SR, Dolby Digital
Aspect Ratio: Scope (2.35:1)
Cast & Crew
R. Bhakti Klein
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War Movie Review: Strictly For Fans Of Hrithik Roshan And Tiger Shroff
War movie review: powered by two loose-limbed and resolutely stone-faced male leads, hrithik and tiger, war is all style and no substance..
War Movie Review: Tiger and Hrithik in a still from the film. (Image courtesy: hrithikroshan )
Cast : Hrithik Roshan, Tiger Shroff, Vaani Kapoor, Anupriya Goenka, Ashutosh Rana, Dipannita Sharma
Director : Siddharth Anand
Ratings : 1.5 stars (out of 5)
One minor character in Siddharth Anand's War is a plastic surgeon who plies her trade in Zurich. She is the world's best, no less. But all she has in the film are a couple of fleeting sequences. She should have stayed longer, gone to work on this monstrous mess of a film and pared it down to its bare-bones essentials. But then, that would have added up to zip.
War is all sound and fury, a glossy globe-trotting thriller that goes haywire at every turn. It could have done with not just a major plastic surgery, but also several rounds of liposuction to rid it of its flab. That money has been generously spent in its making - it is a Yash Raj Films production after all - is obvious in the lavish mounting. Sadly, the screenplay (Sridhar Raghavan and Siddharth Anand) is terribly sloppy. It takes recourse to absolutely arbitrary twists in its attempts to get the jigsaw pieces to fall into the right places. They never do.
Powered by two loose-limbed, nimble-footed, buffed-up and resolutely stone-faced male leads, Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff, War is all style and no substance. There is nary a scene in here that isn't persisted with longer than necessary. Especially overstretched are the gunfights, duels and stunts that are designed to hold the film together. Not one of them is remotely interesting, let alone exciting.
But this isn't meant to be criticism of the film's editor Aarif Sheikh. When he has the opportunity, which sadly isn't often, he demonstrates exceptional skill. In an early scene, one of the leads struts across the screen from left to right in what turns out to be an equivalent of a wipe that leads into an aerial shot of Connaught Place, Delhi.
You begin to expect War to be a lean and mean soldiers-and-spies drama only to have your hopes dashed. War settles into a series of long-drawn-out action set pieces and contrived plot sleights designed to give Hrithik and Tiger the room to go all out. Parts of War are reminiscent of Bang Bang . That isn't surprising at all: Bang Bang also scoured over the world, was helmed by Siddharth Anand and was shot by cinematographer Benjamin Jasper.
The director of photography is bang on the money no matter where War takes him: from Valetta, Malta and Marrakesh, Morocco to the backwaters of Kerala and the Arctic Circle. But lush images, eye-popping locations and two of Bollywood's hunkiest actors are hardly enough to conceal the gaping holes that riddle the film. Seriously, a spy thriller that has to turn to a plastic surgeon for the purpose of springing surprises can only be painfully plasticky and pulpy.
In the opening sequence, an Army soldier and undercover agent Kabir (Hrithik Roshan), sent out to Syria to eliminate a terror mastermind, turns his gun on the very Indian intelligence officer he is receiving commands from. Khalid Rahmani (Tiger Shroff) is handpicked by the spy agency chief, Colonel Luthra (Ashutosh Rana), for a mission to neutralize the rogue.
Khalid - his religious identity isn't emphasized either by way of visuals or spoken lines except when his mother (Soni Razdan) talks of the power of prayer - has several handicaps to reckon with. One, he has to work much harder than anyone else to prove his love for the nation because of a past family blot. Two, he has a blind spot in his right peripheral vision - a result of a bullying incident in school - and nearly loses his spot on the crack anti-terrorism team that Kabir grooms for a major operation.
When Kabir finally accepts Khalid wholeheartedly, the film takes a brief detour and treats the audience to a Holi number on a set erected on the edge of a cliff. The song has no reason (barring the obvious) to be in the film: it is a showcase for the dancing abilities of the two principal actors. As they belt out Jai jai Shiv Shankar aaj mood hai bhayankar, they are great to watch if its complete redundancy does not bother.
Four chess pieces - rook, bishop, knight and pawn - are repeatedly mentioned in the second half of the film to explain why Kabir has turned against his own men, but it is in the first half itself that several major moves are made. As a consequence, when the supposedly crucial reveals occur later in the film, they do not stir any emotions because they have already been amply, and overtly, telegraphed.
The war on the screen turns murkier - and muddier - as faces are changed, identities are switched and all logic is merrily thrown to the wind. A super-smart intelligence agency analyst, Aditi (Anupriya Goenka), feeds Kabir all the dope that he needs to stay ahead of his opponents, who are both within the country and elsewhere in the world. But the war he wages is too scrappy to hold up for long.
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Post-interval, War takes a pause of sorts to bring us up to speed on Kabir's immediate past. This exercise hinges on two scenes. The first one has the protagonist lecture a six-year-old girl on winning and losing and on the importance of giving off your best no matter what the final result is. Kabir takes the philosopher act a few notches higher in the next significant scene - this one has a dancer and single mom Naina (Vaani Kapoor in an extended cameo), who repays him in kind and pontificates on the perils of being enlisted as "a civilian asset" by a spy.
As soon as the next gunshot is fired, War returns to the core business of violent confrontations that push the combatants to the limits of their ability to endure pain. They test the patience of the audience too. This War is just not worth fighting. It begins with a bang and ends with a bang, but is otherwise a whimper all the way. Only for fans of Hrithik and Tiger.
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