Amy Jackson clearly had no mirrors on the sets of Police. Why else would she subject herself to that wig? Our "Angry Young Man" Rajasekhar would have looked amazing in it, but Jackson? Also, she really shouldn't be lip-syncing to Telugu, Tamil or Malayalam. All she does is pout-unpout-pout-unpout-pout-unpout and then cross hands and pout - and we are supposed to believe that she's just lip-synced to the dialogue.
Samantha next. This writer came back home and watched some parts of Ye Maya Chesave
to remember what Samantha actually looked like. Version 2.0 of Samantha - aka bee-stung lips, high cheekbones, experimental hairdo and fake smile - sucks.
The heroines out of the equation, let's come to Vijay. Ilayathalapathi Vijay, as the man is popularly known in the neighbouring State, commands a huge fan following there, and has trademark mannerisms that his fans obviously enjoy. But expecting them to be understood here is a bit like expecting the Bollywood audiences to cheer when Pawan Kalyan rubs his neck that
So is Police an unmitigated disaster? Nope. The film is yet another rehash of the Basha template - a guy living in a small and languid town, and staying away from violence and appearing extremely meek, suddenly gets into superhero mode, and explains it all with a flashback where he was a dashing cop (for a change, the hero is on the right side of law this time), and had a powerful villain destroy all that he held dear. And now the villain re-enters his life and there's a slam-bang climax. Yes, Police has all the Basha masala. And some of it works really well.
The interval denouement, for example. The audience is treated to a dose of repulsive brutality, and is rooting for the wrongdoers to be punished. Vijay has a constable express what he would do to the criminal if he could catch him - and then reveals what he has himself done. The constable represents the audience, and when the audience see their wishes fulfilled on screen, they go berserk. That one masala moment redeems the entire first hand single-handedly. And the second half has a few such fulfilling moments, too.
What constantly pulls Police down, however, is its larger-than-life portrayal of its hero. Vijay as a police officer is not just that, he is a messiah. Every case he picks up - children being forced to beg on the street, a woman raped brutally, corruption in the police department - is played to gallery with sentimental scenes galore, and ultimately ends in him emerging the savior of the downtrodden. If this man has political ambitions, he isn't hiding them. Even when he makes a comeback from his exile, he does not just return - he is portrayed as a man risen from the dead and as another avatar. This industrial-strength grandiloquence not only results in the film being stretched to 168 minutes, it kills the joy you derive from the moments that work well.
We couldn't understand the songs - either the voices, or the lyrics, or the music - but the overall effect was certainly raucous. The action however is decent, the film is shot stylishly, and the locales are beautiful.
One thing that escapes us is how this movie escaped with a U rating. It has scenes where a villain turns on the tap in a tub with a baby in it, a doctor describes how a woman was raped in detail, and at least three instances where Vijay kills people and hangs them upside down.
Police reveals its cards too soon and appears like a normal-length movie, but then stretches on interminably. Some of the thrills are good, but whether you would watch an entire movie for that is up to you. The only silver lining for us was discovering that Devi 70mm still has one of the best audio systems in town.