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.
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 – SearchIndia.com 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 SearchIndia.com enthusiastically recommends Agent Vinod.
The movie is playing across the U.S. including in several Regal and AMC theatres.