http://nowwatchtvlive.org – New York Times Reviews Ra.One, ‘Great Effects, lame script’,You can have a high old time (or get a little bored) totting up movies that Ra.One borrows from: Tron, The Terminator, The Matrix, Jackie Chan films and on and on. Not that it could be mistaken for anything other than what it is: a Bollywood epic with a magpie appetite and, of course, songs and dances. (The catchy, clubby Chammak Challo, featuring Akon, is already a hit.)
For all its cost, digital effects and virtual reality feints, Ra.One is a traditional, if somewhat undercooked, Hindi movie confrontation between good and evil. After all, the villain is named Ra.One (for Random Access Version 1.0), which can be pronounced Raavan, like the 10-headed demon in the Ramayana. And G.One, the hero, is also Jeevan, which means life.
Sporting a wig of floppy curls, Shah Rukh Khan, the film’s star and guiding force, plays Shekhar, a nerdy computer game designer in London. (Even the thieves speak Hindi in this town.) To win the admiration of his son, Prateek (Armaan Verma), he creates a game in which the bad guy, Ra.One, is more powerful than the hero, G.One.
But Ra.One breaks into the real world and wants to kill Prateek, which sends the boy and his mother (Kareena Kapoor, looking great with a few new pounds) to India with G.One (Mr. Khan again, sans curls), who has also come to life.
Ra.One, directed by Anubhav Sinha, works hard with its money. (The Times of India has reported the budget as $30 million.) Full of digital effects, wire work and things that go flying (cars, men, supermen) the movie is technically as sophisticated as anything Bollywood has produced. A standout is G.One’s rescue of Kareena on a runaway train that crashes rather spectacularly out of Victoria Terminus in Mumbai.
You can see the money on screen, if not in the screenwriting. The exposition is longwinded and confusing, as are the rules of the game, in the virtual and the real worlds. The bumbling Shekhar is too clownish; Ra.One is a dud demon (Raavan is invoked to little effect) who disappears for chunks of time; and you probably won’t hold your breath as good fights evil.
But if the storytelling disappoints (shocking!), the film mostly doesn’t. It relies on action and effects and Bollywood’s trump card, star power, to carry the day. This is Shah Rukh Khan’s movie, and once he sheds Shekhar’s droopy locks, he shines as the deadpan, action-hero robot with digital snot and smooth moves on the dance floor.