STORY: Two bruised hearts, 8-year-old Naomi (Diya) and Kabir (John) find solace in each other. They are both lonely and nursing psychological scars and mysterious tragedy. Naomi’s mother is a drug addict-peddler and Kabir loses the only person he loves. The talkative kid-next-door becomes the reclusive pawn shop owner’s only reason to live. When her life is endangered, his soul is awakened once again.
REVIEW: Set in Goa, Rocky Handsome seems promising and atmospheric in the beginning. The setting works. Non-linear narration evokes curiosity around the protagonist. But things go downhill as soon as conversation between Diya and John kicks in. Their rapport seems meaningless and forced. You don’t feel for either of them.
Nishikant Kamat’s urge to utilise John Abraham’s ripped physique and expertise at combat scenes for an action thriller is evident. He does a spectacular job at that as expected. He moves and kills with conviction. However, one cannot solely depend on it, assuming it will make up for the lack of effective storytelling. Barring John’s past, nothing evokes sympathy for the lead characters or disdain for the villains. The director’s desperation to portray every bad guy as psychotic seems pointless. Casting is a major issue as actors don’t look or speak like they belong to Goa.
Nishikant’s decision to play the mafia ganglord Kevin Pereira doesn’t help the film either. You miss the presence of a strong antagonist, who can stand up against the invincible John.
Barring the fast-paced fist and knife fights, the movie fails on various grounds. It is a classic case of style over substance. And sadly, it doesn’t look stylish either. The Hindi remake of a Korean film struggles to blend action and emotion. Its need to infuse drama kills the thrill of its sleek and ruthless action. Also, the whole patriotic backstory for Kabir further spoils the aura of his mysterious hoodie sporting character. The climax is stretched for way too long.
Shruti Haasan looks pretty in her special appearance, adding life to the lovely song Rehnuma. John Abraham as the lean, mean, killing machine is perfect for the role of Kabir. It’s the execution and poor dialogue that makes this film a damp squib.