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Krrish 3
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by Jay Seaver

"This time around, Bollywood does a super job."
4 stars

Here's a funny coincidence - Bollywood superhero movie "Krrish" came out the same summer as "Superman Returns" and its sequel "Krrish 3" (I'll explain later) is hitting theaters the Diwali after Warner Brothers delivered a Superman movie franchise reboot. And while it shares some of the same issues that hurt "Man of Steel" for me, they seem more forgivable here, and more because writer/director Rakesh Roshan has finally figured out the best way to embrace the crazy nature of superheroics than my admittedly lesser attachment to the Krrish trilogy-so-far.

To recap (as the film does), developmentally-challenged Rohit Mehra (Hrithik Roshan) was given an intelligence boost by a stranded alien, which caused his son Krishna (also Hrithik Roshan) to be born with superpowers. Krishna romanced and married beautiful TV reporter Priya (Priyanka Chopra), and now secretly protects Mumbai as masked hero Krrish - which, admittedly, makes it hard for him to keep a job, with all the dashing off to save the day. But there's not necessarily much a superhero can do against a virus created by quadriplegic (but telekinetic!) mastermind Kaal (Vivek Oberoi) and set loose by genetically engineered "Manimals" led by the shape-shifting Kaya (Kangana Ranaut).

Both Krrish and Koi... Mil Gaya, the film that started the series (which is how you jump straight from Krrish to Krrish 3), were broad fantasies that suffered from some severe tonal whiplash, starting off with some fairly juvenile comedy and then backloading almost all the action so that it takes place after the intermission. There's still a bit of that happening here, but having all the set-up the audience needs handled in a five-minute clip package at the start lets Roshan dive straight into the main plot fairly quickly, and while the movie does go from cheerful to intense along the way, it's not the jarring switch from slapstick to bloody violence that happens in many other Indian movies.

In fact, one of the most impressive things the elder Roshan (Rakesh is Hrithik's father) does is to match the way Indian films are often a little bit of everything to the way comic book superhero universes throw a ton of seemingly contradictory elements together. That's how a series that started out as a combination of E.T. and Flowers for Algernon has reached the point of a guy in a cape fighting an evil Professor X with enough plot twists going on during this movie that it never feels like Rakesh Roshan is padding, stalling, or just letting the grass grow under his feet. He also does a fair job of giving time to how superheroes are both power fantasies and moral ones, so that even though Krrish may be fighting monsters to the death, being inspirational and rescuing innocent bystanders is an important part of the movie too.

That's why, even when the big finale is giving Mumbai a beating, it seldom comes off as quite as horrific as Man of Steel's finale occasionally felt, despite an equally monstrous villain. Rakesh Roshan actually does a pretty nice job corralling the big action and effects sequences; though not necessarily as perfectly polished as their American counterparts, they're well-staged (and fairly 3D-ready, though no local theaters showed it in that format) and nicely boosted by the melodramatic score by Rajesh Rohan & Salim Merchant, which also serves as a nice counterpoint to a script that is always ready to answer "can things get a little crazier?" with a resounding "yes!" The film's got three musical numbers, and two of them are pretty good, while the third is less a bad song than a barely-related music video in the middle of the movie, which you've got to expect and accept from Bollywood.

Like his father, Hrithik Roshan seems to have finally settled in with these movies; both his characters, while often played silly in the movies that introduced them, are quite enjoyable to watch here, and come across as two different people rather than just a gimmick when on-screen together. The big surprise is how well he makes Rohit work; even middle-aged, there's still a fair amount of the special-needs kid in him, but it's not so exaggerated as to be uncomfortable and there's something more admirable than foolish about his tendency to see the best in people. That's there with Krishna, whom the younger Roshan plays as a more conventional leading man, though he goes from amiable to intense more naturally here than in the previous movies. Priyanka Chopra and Kangana Ranaut do initially seem to be on-hand mainly to look pretty, although they get a bit more to do in the second half. Vivek Oberoi comes off about as well as the actors playing the villains tend to in Indian action/adventures, which is not terribly well. To be fair, he's given lines that Stan Lee & Jack Kirby might have dismissed as a little corny.

But that's part of why I found myself smiling like a fool more and more as "Krrish 3" went on, despite its occasional shortcomings. It gets the grand escapism that superhero stories can elicit and doesn't run from that in the name of being mature or realistic. The really good news is how inviting it is; I enjoyed "Koi... Mil Gaya" and "Krrish", but mostly recommended them to people who might be interested in a different take on sci-fi or action, while this is accessible and well-executed enough that folks who like a good superhero movie may want to check it out whether their taste or curiosity runs toward Bollywood or not.

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originally posted: 11/05/13 14:36:18
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2014 Fantasia International Film Festival For more in the 2014 Fantasia International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

5/31/14 Olajide I think it's a good movie but I also think they over did some act and some looked too fake 4 stars
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