Rating: 2/5 Stars (Two stars)
Star Cast: Saif Ali Khan, Katrina Kaif
Director: Kabir Khan
What’s Good: Phantom tries hard to keep you engaged in a tale you truly wish was true. Of course, the premise of the story coming from Mumbai Avengers is strong enough but not perfect.
What’s Bad: Unfortunately, Kabir Khan relied on his two lead stars for this film to work. Saif Ali Khan and Katrina Kaif, both seem misfits for their roles.
Loo Break: First half is a good time
Fed up and humiliated by Pakistan’s attacks on Indian soil and particularly the one that rocked Mumbai on 26/11, RAW decides to undertake a deadly unofficial mission. While the chief of RAW – Roy (Sabyasachi) is still not convinced, it is his sub-ordinate, Zeeshan Ayub’s character that shows conviction towards the plan. They soon zero in on Daniyal Khan (Saif Ali Khan) a court-martialled army man to carry out their mission. Thus he takes off to London, Beirut, Syria and Pakistan hunting down each of the terrorists involved in the 26/11 mission. His only co-conspirer on this secret mission is Nawaz Mistry (Katrina Kaif) who is a witness to all the accused.
Phantom Review: Script Analysis
This fictitious tale with a mixture of realism makes an effort to come across as an edge-of-the-seat thriller but fails at keeping us glued to it. The sad part is that the coveted mission in the first place is not crafted brilliantly for us to marvel it. The whole concept of making the killings look like accidents doesn’t work well. Not to mention, Kabir Khan keeps adding emotional tear-jerkers in between that completely kill the main plot theme. There are certain scenes where the suspense is maintained well. What does not really go well with the storyline is the fact that the mission is hardly kept a secret. At first, Daniyal himself exposes the mission to Nawaz who is actually not a part of it but only a reference for it. Later, Sumit (Zeeshan Ayyub) confesses the entire unofficial mission to a Naval officer again a wrong representation. The Indian Navy enters international waters without permission to save Daniyal and Nawaz in Pakistani waters which is a major error that is not justified at all. Also, Nawaz’s reason for helping out Daniyal in the killings is so foolish that I almost laughed at it. She recounts a memory of her with her dad when they used to have tea at the Taj and hence she wants a revenge. Really? I have no words for that. Not to mention, in the second half the mission gets so predictable that the least you expect is a power packed end but what you get is an ultra emotional one. Not what I signed up for!
Phantom Review: Star Performance
Saif Ali Khan really needs to get a grip of his career. He was not only a misfit as the romantic hero in Happy Ending but also in an action packed avatar, that does not impress either. Literally, the only expression Saif manages to give is raise an eyebrow. His dialogues are mono toned. He sadly is a complete misfit for this role.
Katrina Kaif as Nawaz Mistry is a mystery to me. What does her character do, take revenge for a childhood tea at Taj? Her dialogue delivery is weak and the only scene she impresses is where she fakes a pregnancy and it is completely funny. I don’t see why she is Kabir’s choice for this film.
Zeeshan Ayub turns out to be impressive amongst the supporting cast. However, his entry scene in the film is as though he is a ghost. He appears out of no where in his introductory scene.
Phantom Review: Music, Direction
Kabir Khan had managed to make a decent watch out of Ek Tha Tiger but with Phantom, I do not feel the same. What could have been a much wittier and slick action flick turns out to be a poorly plotted secret mission with an even unimpressive agent. Saif possess neither the charm of Bond nor the agility of Ethan Hunt (MI) both of whom are hailed to be the best under cover agents. But India gets an awkward Saif Ali Khan who can’t even crack a patriotic dialogue with enough conviction. At first, Khan particularly messes up by showing a scene where Nawaz and Daniyal follow a suspect to his home. Their glances at each other are so obvious that even a toddler can tell something is cooking. That just shows the lack of wit and smartness required to pull off such a mission in the first place. The only thing Khan does full justice to in the film is its pace. It is gripping but the story and acting kills the excitement of its pace. The art direction is amazing for the Syria region that has been re-created. Music is also decently put but the only song that appeals is Afghan Jalebi. The climax is highly disappointing and cliched for a film that goes by the name Phantom.
Phantom Review: The Last Word
Phantom has nothing extraordinary and satisfying about its revenge tale of 26/11. It is a pity that not one scene gives you a sadistic pleasure in seeing the suspects get killed. Those lazy to read Mumbai Avengers could watch it but mind you it is not half as intelligent. I am going with a 2/5 for this film.
Phantom releases on 28th August, 2015.
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