A crack contingent of the Indian army swoops upon a hideout across the border, and scoops up a most wanted terrorist. That adrenaline-filled sequence, which opens ‘Attack’, a film which hews close to its name, leads to a series of attacks on Indian soil. And then what happens? Counter-attacks, silly. If anyone dares attack us, we will give them ‘moonh-tod jawaab’, and stomp on their graves.
The story is credited to producer John Abraham, who plays the lead in this two hour actioner, In and As Arjun, India’s First Super Soldier. A highly-advanced chirpy microchip called Ira (you know, somewhat like Siri and Alexa) lays open the knowledge of the world in front of our Arjun, and hands him the kind of superpowers that would be the envy of all the caped crusaders collectively.
Just so Arjun gets a few breaks between the set-pieces in which he has to take on the evil Hamid (Elham Ehsas) and his gun-toting gang as they set about wrecking havoc in the hallowed house of Parliament, there is a gorgeous girl-friend (Jacqueline Fernandes), a caring mother (Ratna Pathak Shah), and a perky associate-in-arms (Rakul Preet Singh). The ladies do what they need to, but they know, and we know, that they are mere place fillers; the film only kicks in when the Super Soldier is in full flow.
Also, just so we think that everything comes easily to India’s best and bravest, the script makes Arjun work for the all-knowing Ira. A bomb blast, the death of a beloved, and a crippling bullet are part of the plot, but these road-blocks are quickly dispensed with, and everything is revved up to the point where it is Super Soldier 100, Evil Terrorists 0, which is essentially the entire post-interval portion. Yes, a few hapless Indians are sacrificed, but sweet revenge is not far: helicopter blades and swords meet terrorist necks, and enemy blood is satisfactorily sprayed across the screen.
Watch out for some cutesy moments between John and Jacqueline, and Ratna Pathak Shah elevating the slim material whenever she comes on. Rakul Preet Singh, as a super-smart creator of the super-chip programme, is strictly in service to the larger purpose of the film. As is Prakash Raj, as John A’s boss, who gets to bark a few orders here and there. Nice to see old-timer Kiran Kumar pop up for a bit, as a bristling armyman, and Rajit Kapur as a shifty-eyed, crafty neta who has an eye on the big job.
But, like we said, these are sidebars. It is John Abraham who does all the heavy-lifting, literally heaving the bad guys across the room, and shooting exact holes into foreheads with both hands. We know exactly how things will pan out, no strain on the brain. Everything is straight-forward, no complicated characters, no morally ambiguous situations. That’s what desi superheroes are for, aren’t they?
Attack movie cast: John Abraham, Jacqueline Fernandez, Rakul Preet Singh, Elham Ehsas, Prakash Raj, Ratna Pathak Shah, Kiran Kumar
Attack movie director: Lakshya Raj Anand
Attack movie cast: 2.5 stars