Crakk Review: Difficult-To-Digest Inanity Starring Vidyut Jammwal And Arjun Rampal

Crakk Review: Difficult-To-Digest Inanity Starring Vidyut Jammwal And Arjun Rampal

Arjun Rampal and Vidyut Jammwal in a still from the film. (courtesy: YouTube)

Crakk is everything that it is cracked up to be – an extreme sports action movie replete with stunts and swerves that spring from a stunted imagination. All that the shallow genre exercise manages to deliver is extreme ennui. Written and directed by Aditya Datt, who helmed action star Vidyut Jammwal’s third Commando film, Crakk is marred by terrible acting, disorienting editing, a strident background score and overwrought sound design.

The only technician who has a field day is director of photography Mark Hamilton. His camera has to keep up with the action choreographer who responds to a directorial rhythm that has room at all for silences and blank spaces.

That is the kind of movie Crakk is. It rides on, and sinks with, a screenplay that is all over the place although the film itself does not travel beyond a Mumbai shantytown and sundry locations in Poland, where the protagonist squares off against the bad guy, a man who, like the film that he is in, overreaches and makes no lasting impression.

Daredevil slum boy Siddharth “Siddhu” Dixit (Jammwal) dreams of participating in a life-threatening sporting contest called Maidaan, which the ruthless showrunner Dev (Arjun Rampal) calls “the most-watched event in the world”.

The young man, who proves his mettle in the film’s credits sequence with stunts on a local train and then gives pursuing policemen the slip, travels to a faraway land without a valid visa. He lines up with 31 other contestants from across the world for a shot at the champion’s title, which involves getting the better of Dev mentally and physically in a final challenge that follows the three races.

Being the champion isn’t Siddhu’s sole goal. He is here to find out how his elder brother, Nihaal (Ankit Mohan), perished when he took part in the Maidaan contest a few years ago. As the truth begins to reveal itself, the bulldozing hunk finds a purpose far larger than merely competing and winning. He now has a score to settle.

Siddhu keeps insisting all through Crakk that he is a sportsman. He is, however, hard pressed to shed his hot-headed and invincible commando persona. A raging bull who raves and rants, he spoils for a fight at the slightest provocation.

There’s plenty of provocation going around, not only from the venal villain, who aspires to own a country and uses Maidaan as a cover for his nefarious plans, but also from Inspector Patricia Novak (Amy Jackson), who knows what Dev is gunning for and wants to stop him in his tracks.

Logic isn’t the film’s strong suit. Siddhu meets Alia (Nora Fatehi), Maidaan’s social media influencer, and falls for her. Needless to say, he has loads of time between the races to romance the lady and develop a bonding with her that comes in handy when matters begin to spiral out of his control.

When he first meets her, he asks: Are you Indian? Her reply: Whatever I am I am out of your league. Later, Siddhu apologises to Alia for being presumptuous about her. He is tough cookie but is willing to cop the blame when he crosses the line.

In another situation, the baddie advises him to go try his luck at dahi handi, the Maidaan is not for him. Siddhu, cocky and confident as any self-respecting action hero should be, takes the jibe in his stride. He and the audience know all too well that it is he, the hero, who will have the last laugh.

Of course, there is little that is funny in Crakk. It wants to be the ultimate Bollywood extreme sports drama, but its creative resources fall way, way short of its grand ambitions. So, what we have is an egregious and exhausting movie without a shred that could be construed as an attempt at making amends for its complete lack of control.

In his entry scene, Arjun Rampal, clad in dungarees, does a tightrope walk that ends with him killing a police informer who has infiltrated his den. The mole falls to his death. The sequence creates no dread. Neither the character nor the actor exudes any sort of menace.

Dev is obsessed with flags. Every race, which he himself introduces to the players mostly in chaste Hindi unmindful of the fact that barring our man Siddhu everyone is a foreigner – an Arab, an African, a Chinese girl and a bunch of Caucasians who, it is easy see, stand no chance against the invincible Indian – is about grabbing a pennant and surviving lethal obstacles.

Projectiles, wrecking balls and daunting hurdles threaten lives in one of the races. In another, a pack of ferocious dogs are unleashed on the contestants. And then there is a final gladiatorial duel between two men with bombs strapped to their bodies. That is just the sort of predictable climax that one would expect from an unapologetically hare-brained movie such as this.

Yes, Crakk is absolutely unapologetic about what it is foisting upon us. It adds up to pure baloney delivered with a face as straight as Jammwal’s when he is running from the dogs, driving a remote-controlled go-kart through a desert landscape to catch a speeding truck or waiting for a ticking bomb on his elbow to explode.

No matter what he battles through, there isn’t ever a crease on the hero’s visage nor is there ever a hair out of place. The film hurtles along merrily on the man’s back, completely oblivious of the flagrant liberties that it takes with narrative logic.

That indeed is the defining quality of Crakk. This is a take-no-prisoners brand of filmmaking that exists solely in the fond hope that the world needs it. The grieving hero has a cause, the film has no pause, and the action that unfolds ratchets up the decibel levels so high that they numb the brain.

Welcome, as the villain would say, to the most unabashedly flighty and frightfully flummoxing action movie you will ever see. Crakk is a crack at difficult-to-digest inanity. 


Vidyut Jammwal, Arjun Rampal, Nora Fatehi, Amy Jackson


Aditya Datt

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