Players: Good action, bad acting

January 6, 2012

You cannot help but compare the last film of 2011 with the first film of 2012. Both have a lot in common — “Don 2″ and “Players” are both heist films, both borrow heavily from Hollywood movies and have their share of over-the-top cheesy moments. There is just one thing that sets “Players” apart — there’s a lot more action in this one.

Director duo Abbas-Mustan make sure there’s plenty to keep you on the edge of your seat, and even though the film drags on longer than it should, you are still not looking to bolt from the hall.

Borrowing from the premise of “The Italian Job”, “Players” tells the story of Charlie Fernandes (Abhishek Bachchan), who plans to rob gold bars worth billions of dollars while it is being transferred from one country to another by train.

He enlists the help of hardened criminal Victor Braganza (Vinod Khanna), who helps him put together a team of a hacker, illusionist, make-up artist and Riya (Bipasha Basu), Charlie’s trusted partner in earlier crimes.

They pull off the heist after an edge-of-the-seat sequence but that’s not quite the end of the story. I won’t reveal anymore because not everyone’s watched “The Italian Job”, but suffice it to say the directors add enough songs, comic tracks and corny dialogues to ensure they’ve “tailored” it to Indian tastes.

There are several plotholes, the acting is plain vanilla and you can see the myriad twists coming a mile away. What saves this film is that it’s styled well, shot well and has enough chases and high-octane sequences to keep you interested.

One of the biggest problem areas is the acting — not a single person from the ensemble cast stands out. It’s all one-note, except for Neil Nitin Mukesh who is marginally better than the others. Special mention for Sonam Kapoor, who needs to start thinking about her laboured acting and stop thinking about her styling.

“Players” isn’t a great film, but it’s got enough going for it that you can watch it on a lazy weekend. Just don’t go out of your way for this one.

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