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Players  : Aw, so poorly played!
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Friday, January 6, 2012
Action - Thriller
Abhishek Bachchan, Bobby Deol, Bipasha Basu, Sonam Kapoor, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Omi Vaidya, Sikander Kher, Johny Lever, Vinod Khanna
Players Movie Stills
The official remake of The Italian Job where the best team in the world plunders glittering bricks of bullion from a moving, high security train, is not worth the ride.

The plot: Charlie (Abhishek Bachchan), officially a chartered accountant but notoriously successful as an athletic and brainy crook, needs a team of the best players to loot gold from a train that’s scheduled to run between Russia and Romania. Master thief Victor (Vinod Khanna), serving time in jail, finds him the perfect team: there’s Ronnie (Bobby Deol) the illusionist, Bilal (Sikander Kher) the explosives expert, Rhea (Bipasha Basu) the vehicle specialist, Sunny (Omi Vaidya) the makeup master and Spider (Neil Nitin Mukesh), the world’s best hacker. The crack team pulls off the impossible but even before they divide the loot, they stand divided amongst themselves, driven by back-stabbing and betrayal.

The good: Count those three cute cars and some exotic locations in Russia and New Zealand as the only ‘watchables’ in an experience that’s too lifeless to otherwise watch (no, thank you, to screenplay writers Sudip Sharma and Rohit Jugraj).  Omi Vaidya tries to be funny, so does Johnny Lever. The two do make the humour surface at places. But that’s far too infrequent in a two-and-a-half hour long film. Neil Nitin Mukesh puts in a decent performance as the bad boy.
Tricks like using illusion to deceive the guards on the train are fresh and could have helped divert attention from the fact that nothing exciting is really happening. But ultimately, somehow none of the sequences come off as thrilling.

The bad: The major flaw with the film would be its writing. It unfolds like something that’s been written in instalments and that too in an off-hand, incomplete manner with scenes abandoned without taking any thought to a definite end. Unfortunately, even the director duo seems to have lost its racy touch, using its old formula of skin-showing heroines who fail to titillate this time around.  The whole point of having an international scale robbery with the world’s best team fails when the biggest heist ever lacks thrills or twists. The second part where the game is within the team itself, is uninteresting to the point where the end comes as a huge relief. The performances of the mammoth cast do not deserve much attention. Abhishek as athletic, agile? In other scenes he looks like he’s walked off the sets of Game and wandered into Players. There’s no consistency even in the various characterisations as the deaf Bilal conveniently hears every word through most of the film. And whatever happens to Bobby’s bedridden daughter who in any case was put in casually only as the must-have “emotional ingredient”? Unfortunately, Sonam gets to mouth quite a few dialogues and let’s face it – the girl’s poor dialogue delivery comes out even worse with so many close-ups when she’s talking.  The music by Pritam is as unmelodious and forced as the predictable tale.  It’s not even amusing to note that after such a big robbery and such traffic-stopping escapades, neither the Russian nor the New Zealand authorities are anywhere in sight.

Overall: This botched-up job is no cliff hanger like The Italian Job.

– Pooja Thakkar

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