First, a quick poll: what would you have if you cast Zayed Khan and Vivek Oberoi as the lead in a film?
a. Something that can be easily improved upon
b. Desperate need for a really good script
c. Plenty of scope for the heroine to stand out
d. All of the above
Well, there's good news and there's bad news. The good news is that anything you tick above is correct, though you'd get special preference for skipping reading this review if you chose 'd'. The bad news is none of those options happens anyway.
Indeed, Mission Istanbul is so flimsy and illogical, if a woman watched it when she was pregnant, her son would grow up to be someone who'd randomly pick up a wheel and fight valiantly with it even in a perfectly normal and warm social get-together. And for a film trying to look ultra-macho, it has dialogues so lame, making it interesting would need chopping out the entire talkie part and most of the remaining, and some of the rest, too.
Vikas Sagar (Zayed Khan) is an IIT Computer Science topper turned top soldier turned top newspaper journalist turned top TV anchor-cum-reporter. You can add anything else you want to it, but just make sure you sound logical - for example, top FIFA player is okay, but not top WTA player or top Bollywood actress. Actually maybe top Bollywood actress is okay, too, since he has a greater chance of being that than of ever being top Bollywood actor.
Vikas is getting divorced from his also-journo wife Anjali (Shriya) since their priorities don't match, since their timings are different, and mostly since her cleavage has greater power to save a movie than his entire acting repertoire. Shriya has a 15-minute role in the movie of which she sports a cleavage for 12. That's such a pity when you realize that they could've easily multiplied those numbers by 10, at zero additional cost.
Anyway, Vikas gets posted to Istanbul as a top-level reporter for Al-Johara, a channel that covers Islamic terrorism in surprising detail and keeps getting exclusive interviews from Abu Nazar, the globe's most value-adding terrorist. Soon he discovers something really uncanny - that the movie doesn't have a real hero yet. This is when Rizwan Khan (Vivek Oberoi) makes his entry. Unfortunately the movie still needs a real hero, and that was one of the things out of the budget of this film, the others being script- and dialogue-writers.
Rizwan tells Vikas how the latter's life is in danger - which is true, since if the terrorists don't get him, the audiences will, for showing about 2 expressions in the entire film, and especially for a scene where he's laughing inanely while escorting Liza (Shweta Bharadwaj), a co-reporter, up the stairs to her house, which alone is enough to make any terrorist commit his next act of jihad, mostly against himself.
Rizwan then uncovers for Vikas the full maze of conspiracy centering around the channel, and together they embark on a mission of dismantling the entire network of terror operating from Istanbul, which has stunts so impossible, they could've easily been part of a mythological, or, worse, a Puri Jagannath movie. Sure, the action sequences in this movie must have been quite expensive - unfortunately, the thought seems to have come real cheap.
Zayed Khan's been around for half a decade in Bollywood now, and he probably feels that time is flying. There's a lot he needs to do about that, starting by spending much more time in acting classes than in gyms. Vivek Oberoi is good, but not good enough to anchor a movie on his own, with a smug grin being the only expression that the lame lines will allow. Shriya, as we pointed out, has nothing much to do in the film, especially since people are not concentrating on her expressions anyway. Nikitin Dheer as the villian does a decent job.
There are no songs that rise above the movie, and realizing that, they are kept short. Like all Bollywood films, the movie looks slick, but that's lost in translation. And if you did not understand that sentence, that's the least of your problems - there's plenty more to ponder over. Like, why did you bother to read this review right until here.