Review: ‘Valimai’ lacks depth to impress right till the end

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Film: ‘Valimai’; Duration: 179 minutes

Director: H. Vinoth

Cast: Ajith Kumar, Karthikeya Gummakonda and Huma Qureshi.

IANS Rating: **1/2

‘Valimai’ can best be described as an action film, the first half of which belongs to director H Vinoth, and the second half, to actor Ajith.

In other words, ‘Valimai’s’ first half offers a plot with the same class and brilliance that one witnessed in earlier films of Vinoth such as ‘Sathuranga Vettai’ and ‘Theeran Adhigaram Onnu’ while its second half provides what fans of actor Ajith would expect in an Ajith film.

The city is reeling under a series of chain snatching incidents and the police department assigns the case to a ‘Supercop’, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Arjun (Ajith Kumar). It doesn’t take long for him to figure out that there’s a sinister connection between chain snatching cases and the sudden rise in sales of a particular type of motorbike on certain days every month. What’s more, he also smells a link between the chain snatchers and drug dealers.

Arjun finds out that the crimes are all being committed by the same gang which identifies itself as Satan’s Slaves. The gang’s head (played by Karthikeya) firmly believes the police force is not equipped to track him down and even if they do, are not capable of matching either his speed or the speed of his bike-riding gang, which primarily comprises of misled youth. But his hopes are dashed when Arjun tracks him down and even nabs him. What happens then is what the film is all about…

A good 20 minutes into the film, you actually get involved in the story and are ready to forgive the slow start the film has had.

The intensity of the plot picks up and by the time the first bike stunt sequence appears, you actually find yourself rooting for ACP Arjun. The bike sequences in the first half don’t disappoint one bit and you experience a rush of adrenaline when witnessing them.

The first half is just a delight to watch and that is primarily because of director Vinoth, who manages to surprise you with his thinking and narration. For instance, an open challenge that the villain throws to the hero and the manner in which that challenge is acknowledged and handled is just refreshing.

Vinoth’s strength lies in surprising you and he does that consistently and cleverly all through the first half. By the time, the first half finishes, your expectations have risen. However, it is then, that the problem begins.

The second half has quite a bit of sentimental drama. First, there is a sequence in which Arjun’s mom pleads with him about the safety of her third son, Kutty. Then, there is another sequence in which Arjun pleads with his mom, asking her to have food and then, a third sequence when the mother offers herself to be killed for the sake of her third son… The melodramatic sequences are just endless in the second half and they make you roll your eyes.

This apart, what makes the second half difficult to digest is the fact that the action sequences too don’t work. The action sequences that you see in the second half fall desperately short of the high standards you’ve begun to expect of the film. Forget measuring up, they don’t look convincing at all in the first place.

As if this wasn’t enough, the villain, whose character in the first half appeared intelligent, strong and capable, comes across as being weak and immature in the second.

The climax too doesn’t work for a number of reasons, both at a logical and an emotional level.

One could go on, but to simply cut a long story short, ‘Valimai’ is a film that manages to initially impress but is unable to sustain the charm till the end. (IANS)

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