Here's one reason the makers should have taken chemistry lessons - audiences don't come to watch Dia Mirza kiss Irrfan Khan. The other reason is that a documentary on spillage disposal techniques of the 3 structural isomers of pentane could have turned out to be more entertaining than Acid Factory, a film about Fardeen Khan's leather jacket.
Acid Factory is the story of 6 people - played by Fardeen Khan, Manoj Bajpai, Danny Denzongpa, Dino Morea and Aftab Shivdasani - who find themselves trapped in an acid factory. They don't remember why they're there or who they are, because a pentane leak has left them all with temporary amnesia. Maybe Fate did this to them to prove a point - no one in the audience remembers what their respective last hits were, or even their last films, and why they're here.
It's not like the makers didn't see that coming - they expect that you'll turn amnesic by the interval anyway, and so disclose the mystery of the movie right at the beginning. Turns out that Fardeen Khan is an undercover cop who's in this to expose some major hanky panky that Kaizer (Irrfan Khan) and his accomplices (Manoj Bajpai and Danny Denzongpa) are upto.
Now these 6 don't even know their own names, but going by the frequent status-check phone calls from Kaiser, they figure out that they're Max, Romeo, JD, Sarthak, Sultan and a few others. In the rest of the movie, they figure out which one is who - partly by analytical thinking, partly because the effects of the gas start wearing out, and partly because the actors have finally been handed a script.
You, unfortunately, are not handed a script, so you'll have to make do with the month-old flashbacks that are thrown at you, which involves cars being blown up and sunglasses being shown off. Meanwhile, you're also kept on the edge of your seat as Fardeen Khan's boss (Gulshan Grover) keeps getting outsmarted by the villains and mouths impactful speeches of defeat - "Bloody smart!" and "Bloody clever!"
Acid Factory has little to keep you actually engaged, mostly because there's simply no element of mystery or suspense here, and also because there are way too few smart dialogues. The narration flits back and forth in a way that can leave you clueless for a few moments. Innovating on the style of story-telling is no substitute for the real things - a decent script, a strong star cast and engaging lines.
The performances are all good, however. Fardeen Khan, after a few scenes of wannabe-coolth, gets into some serious acting. Aftab has been given a maniacally screaming role, Dia Mirza is given an unflatteringly paltry number of scenes, and Manoj Bajpai's made to give the film an 'evolved' feel with some dorky expressions and lines. Irrfan Khan is his usual flawless self. Then, there's Danny Denzongpa who manages to dazzle in a scene or 2, and Dino Morea, who's badly in need of a hair-stylist and a film.
There's a conscious emphasis on style as well. For some inexplicable reason, like some ambitious second grade thrillers, Acid factory's set in South Africa. The look and feel are quite slick, and the metallic, clangy factory setting looks authentic enough to successfully make you imagine you've caught a whiff of the poisonous stuff too. The music has nothing to make you wish you have, and neither does it have anything to make you wish you haven't. And no, Dia Mirza's not dancing.
Stay at home and explode your own toy cars. And taking off from one of Acid Factory's favourite dialogues - you don't remember this one getting released, remember?