Beast Review {2.5/5}: Even Vijay can’t rescue Beast from flippant writing

Beast Synopsis: A former RAW officer, who is among the hostages in a mall taken over by terrorists, has to foil their plans and prevent the government from releasing a dreaded terrorist, who he had helped put in prison at great personal cost.

Beast Review: In his previous films, Kolamaavu Kokila and Doctor, director Nelson mined humor out of situations that hardly would have come across as funny on paper. In Beast, too, he takes a backdrop that is serious – a hostage situation – and tries to make it funny. But this time, he is far from successful. In fact, the film barely delivers the laughs in the places where it should have been funny and makes us break into a laugh whenever it tries to be a mass hero movie.

The film does begin promisingly. We get a prologue involving Veera Raghavan (Vijay), a senior RAW officer who ends up psychologically scarred following a mission to capture a most-wanted terror mastermind. He leaves the organization and is trying to get rid of his demons from him, but then, the mall which he is at with his girlfriend Preethi (Pooja Hegde) is taken over by terrorists. The government’s negotiator Althaf Hussain (a wry Selvaraghavan) manages to coax Veera into taking up the rescue mission, but can he succeed?

The problem with Beast is that it has a protagonist who is too strong given a mission that never seems to be a challenge. The terrorists hardly seem dangerous (they barely kill anyone, even when trying to put fear in the hearts of the hostages), and the mission hardly comes across as something of a daunting task for a daredevil like Veera. None of the hijackers have any personality, including their leader Saif (Ankur Ajit Vikal). “Innum konjam tough kuduthurukalam,” Veera tells Saif towards the end of the film, and it only highlights how weak the antagonist in the film is.

As in Doctor, Nelson gives his protagonist a bunch of oddballs with whom he needs to team up to take down the terrorists, but unlike in that film, the characters here hardly get enough screen or motivation to be memorable. Only VTV Ganesh manages to generate a few laughs while the shtick involving Yogi Babu and Redin Kingsley gets tiresome after a while. Even the bumbling gangster duo from the other film, Mahali and Kili, fail to impress this time.

Anirudh tries to add some punch to the scenes with his score, but by the time we get to the end, with writing that is only leaner and never meaner or stronger, even that doesn’t work. The director seems to have banked entirely on his star to carry the film, but with a script that hardly offers him anything to work with, even Vijay can only do so much with his star power.

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