Agent Vinod Review – Oozes Panache

It took the bozos over four decades but with Agent Vinod Bollywood has finally turned in the first Indian action thriller that desi Bond and Bourne aficionados can watch without cringing.

Written and directed by Sriram Raghavan, Agent Vinod (Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Prem Chopra) is a well crafted Hindi action film that has more than a bit of class.

Sai Ali Khan may lack the brand recognition of Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan, but Agent Vinod is a million times better than SRK’s trashy Don 2 with its Junglee Billee and assorted nonsense.

Saif Ali Khan also packs superior acting skills compared to Bollywood leading lights like Salman Khan, Shahrukh Khan and Akshay Kumar.

High Slick Quotient

Like with any action thriller, you pay more attention to the slickness quotient and the action elements and Agent Vinod does not disappoint on both scores.

Fortunately, there is also more than an hint of an engaging story (a rara avis in Bollywood) and the script is tightly written.

Kudos to Sriram Raghavan and his team.

Sure, Agent Vinod may not match the gee wiz special effects and gadgets of a Bond action film.

But then Agent Vinod was apparently put together on a budget of $11.97 million. Remember, a Bond film costs around $200 million to make these days.

Wild Ride

From Afghanistan to Russia to Riga (Latvia) to Morocco to London to India to Trincomalee (Sri Lanka) to Karachi, Agent Vinod takes us on one helluva ride.

The 42-year-old Saif Ali Khan, who also co-produced the film, is the eponymous Indian spy Agent Vinod.

He’s paired opposite his real-life girlfriend Kareena Kapoor, who plays a Pakistani doctor drawn willy-nilly into this sordid, deadly spy game.

Considering his age and short stature, Saif is pretty good in the action scenes.

If it’s a 2012 spy thriller set in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Russia, odds are there must be some rogues playing around with nuclear weapons for nefarious purposes.

And that’s what Agent Vinod is all about.

The race, first to find out what’s happening and then to stop the deadly blast in India.

The usual action movie  stuff like car chases, shooting, beating, fighting, running, killing and showing girls in dimly-lit nightclubs wearing little and flaunting their wares are done well.

Hollywood has refined this action model through the lucrative Bond, Bourne and Mission Impossible franchises.

But try as they may, Bollywood has struggled to put out even a remotely comparable product. That is until now.

Bumpy only occasionally (the romance angle wasn’t great, for instance), Agent Vinod is mostly an enjoyable experience.

We didn’t think much of the music but then who goes to an action thriller for the musik.

Small Treat for Rajini Fans

At first, we thought we were imagining it.

Quickly, we realized that we were indeed hearing what we thought we were hearing.

A famous Tamil song.

Tamil movie fans are sure to enjoy the song Adi Rakamma Kaiya Thattu from the Rajinikanth film Thalapathi playing in the background as Saif’s character smashes a LTTE operative to pulp.

Agent Vinod – Rating

Even finicky, querulous, serial whiner types like SI enjoyed Agent Vinod.

Since y’all have far lower standards, you’re bound to lap up this Indian action spy thriller.

Your favorite blog enthusiastically recommends Agent Vinod.

The movie is playing across the U.S. including in several Regal and AMC theatres.

14 Responses to "Agent Vinod Review – Oozes Panache"

  1. MadAtBollywood   March 23, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    I am going to see the movie tonight in theatre, 9:30 show here in California!!

    Can’t wait to see this one. Sriram Raghavan made me wait for more than 4 years after the masterpiece Johnny Gaddar.

    So glad to see your positive review.. Responds:

    Having seen both Johnny Gaddaar and Ek Hasina Thi earlier and Agent Vinod today, we agree that Sriram Raghavan knows the craft.

  2. Mnx542   March 23, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    Thought this would be yet another Bollywood joke.

    If SI has given the thumbs up, then it’s got to be a good film.

    Oh, so this is from the same guy who made Johnny Gaddaar.

    JG was awesome. Responds:

    Someone mentioned that Hindi films in Tamil Nadu now come with English subtitles.

    That should help if you can’t follow Hindi.

    • Mnx542   March 23, 2012 at 10:34 pm

      “Someone mentioned that Hindi films in Tamil Nadu now come with English subtitles.”

      Not sure about that. The last Hindi movie I watched was Don 2 and it didn’t come with English subtitles. But I didn’t find it a problem because I can understand Hindi fairly well.

  3. Mnx542   March 23, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Brilliant video I found..!! Responds:

    The first part of the video is more likely to be true.

  4. munish   March 23, 2012 at 11:16 pm

    Sir, are subtitles a must for you to watch a hindi film? Responds:

    No, subtitles are not required for us.

    We follow Hindi well and can Read, Write and Speak the language.

    (FYI – For whatever reason, 99.9% of Hindi films released in the U.S. come with English subtitles. Perhaps, Bollywood producers are trying to lure Americans into watching Hindi films. But that won’t happen in our lifetime because the majority of Hindi films are trash.)

    • Naveen   March 25, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      The subtitles are probably to attract the South Indian diaspora, which is a sizable population. Responds:

      We’ve seen countless Hindi films here but seldom see/hear non-Hindi speaking people in the theatres screening Bollywood movies.

  5. Aswin_Kini   March 23, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Nice review….. but I have one query, are you by any chance biased for Saif Ali Khan???????

    I really trust your reviews on films and products, but I have been finding you always praising Saif Ali Khan one way or the other.

    While I agree that he is better actor than SRK, but lesser talented than the criminally underrated Irfan Khan, I really do find his onscreen and offscreen antics irritating. But I really do hope Agent Vinod is as good as you say.

    A good film should be always appreciated no matter who or what is involved in it.

    But I really cannot stand watching one Khan after the other dominating Bollywood. Responds:

    1. You write: I really trust your reviews on films and products, but I have been finding you always praising Saif Ali Khan one way or the other.

    Sweetie, now that we’re on our second large Margarita of the night we’ll speak the truth and nothing but the whole truth. 😉

    Please read below excerpts from SI reviews of some Bollywood films featuring Saif Ali Khan. The words speak for themselves as to how much we ‘always’ praise Saif Ali Khan.

    * Both Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukerji – two of the finest actors in Bollywood – fail to bring passion to their roles cheating the audience of seeing their full potential.

    Source: SI’s pre-Blog review of Ta Ra Rum Pum

    * No, Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan are not palliatives either. Hey, there are just no palliatives or redeeming elements in this piece of trash.

    Source: Tashan Review – Total Garbage

    * Saif Ali Khan sleepwalks through his role, while Kareena Kapoor is completely inadequate to the task of acting in a kindergarten’s Annual-Day production.

    Source: Kurbaan Review – You are the Sacrificial Lamb, Sucker

    * The movie’s dramatis personae Saif Ali Khan and Rani Mukerji are often touted as Bollywood actors par excellence (well, in the country of the blind the one-eyed man is …).

    But in Zyada Garbage, Zero Magic neither Saif Ali Khan nor Rani Mukerji distinguish themselves in any way. Ditto for Rishi Kapoor in his brief role as God….As for Saif Ali Khan’s clumsy attempts at dancing, it’s safe to say that chimps would do a more graceful job.

    Source: Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic – Zyada Garbage, Zero Magic

    2. As to Saif ‘s off-screen antics, he’s a stupid f*ck if he think such publiSHITTY stunts will provide a big boost to his films!

    3. You write: But I really cannot stand watching one Khan after the other dominating Bollywood.

    Well, there’s always Abhishek Bachchan the buffoon. 😉 Ha ha ha ha!

  6. sam   March 24, 2012 at 12:35 am

    Unbelievable SI!!

    8/10 reviews are blasting the movie in India and here goes our SI.

    Kudos. I will watch it ASAP. Responds:

    Enjoy, kid!

  7. sam   March 24, 2012 at 2:02 am

    That bloody asshole Rajeev Masand of IBN Live gave only 2/5 stars.

    Says that its a boring and disappointing movie. Gadha!

  8. studio4movies   March 24, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Is SI watching Aaranya Kandam, which is re-released in US this week? Responds:

    Sweetie, MovieShitty in Edison is a drive of 400-km (round-trip).

    To far for these old creaking bones.

    BTW, we’ve heard only good things about Aaranya Kandam.

    • Naveen   March 25, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      Aaranya Kandam is already available free under Movies in Channel Live. I turned it off after a while because the theater print was getting on my nerves.

      The initial 10-15 minutes were ok. Impotence is a taboo subject and they have tried to bring it up in this movie, which is a brave move. Responds:

      Alas, we don’t subscribe to ChannelLive.

  9. Naveen   March 25, 2012 at 11:01 pm

    Were Prem Chopra and Kareena Kapoor any good? Responds:

    They were alright but it was essentially Saif Ali Khan’s movie. Not surprising since he was co-producer!

    The rest were irrelevant. You could have replaced the rest and it wouldn’t have made a difference.

    A Saif show entirely.

  10. Hari Jr   March 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Can you please watch and review ‘Raam’ released in 2005 ?? 🙂 Responds:

    Parkalam (we’ll consider it).

  11. Hari Jr   March 30, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Can you watch and review this movie:PYAAR KA PUNCHNAMA
    nd also enjoy dis video from the movie: Responds:

    We’ll try to if we can get the DVD or if it’s on Mela.

    Since we intend to see the movie we opted not to see your video.

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