Malayalam Reviews

Jack Daniel Review: Dileep Hams Up In This Lazy, Cliche-Ridden Drama

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Director: SL Puram Jayasurya

Cast: Dileep, Arjun, Anju Kurian

*Spoiler Ahead*

As the year  comes to an end, the contest for the most bizarre Malayalam film of the year just got interesting! In Jack Daniel, writer-director SL Puram Jayasurya makes bank/museum robbery look like the easiest job in the world. Jack (played by Dileep), a millionaire criminal , walks into high-security spaces wearing obvious and bad disguises, and walks out with haul worth billions of rupees.

This movie makes pick-pocketing look difficult. Jack is lucky because the policemen he has to deal with are empty-headed buffoons who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a police station. Daniel, who is the the “sophisticated” sleuth tasked with nabbing Jack (Arjun, who looks more ramp ready than investigation ready) is not much of an improvement on the cops.

The biggest issue here is that the movie isn’t even trying to be credible. There is nothing new or interesting in the treatment of the concept.  It is equal parts bad video game, and a bad collage of mediocre Indian movies in the genre, like Robinhood, Crazy Gopalan, Dhoom and Race.

The director could care less about logic, cohesiveness, or even details and that is apparent  throughout. For instance, in one of the scenes, the entire state cabinet, including the chief minister, are seen hiding in a room behind a godown to collect their share of black-money kickback.

The plot tropes are archaic. In what comes as no surprise to anyone, the mysterious young girl the hero dates is an undercover police officer. The climactic showdown between the hero and his nemesis makes the girl realise she truly cares for the hero. And it goes on!

The protagonist, Jack and Daniel, are like two peas in a pod, like their names. They are dramatic, and like to deliver punch dialogues before signing off from action scenes. Also, they fight the same enemy – politicians who are the root cause of the country’s black money problem.

With better writing, the two leads fighting the same evil would have had a far better interplay than what we have to deal with here. In Jack Daniel, they are mere show pieces whose combination scenes are the blandest in the film. They rarely meet, and when they do, they stare into each other’s eyes and exchange instantly forgettable lines. The film fails to make this interaction interesting.

The lackadaisical approach extends to the background score as well, with composer Gopi Sundar’s score jarring at places. The romantic track is not helped by the fact that the female lead is nearly three decades Dileep’s junior!

In what has become typical of the films being made recently, the filmmakers resort to national pride and love for the armed forces as a way to salvage the movie. The second half is dedicated to promoting an NGO that helps soldiers and their families. In the Jack Daniel universe; this  thoughtlessness comes as no surprise, though.

Watch the Jack Daniel Trailer here:

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