Monthly Archives: March 2018

Review: BAAGHI 2


2 Corny Stars

Mini Review:

I don't know what the director grew up on, but this movie is a bhelpuri of so many dvds (especially First Blood) that you need lots of coffee to keep up with the corn bhel. Tiger Shroff has come into his own (the facial fuzz helps) and thankfully he only has to seethe, Randeep Hooda, Manoj Bajpai and Deepak Dobriyal fill in the acting parts.It's a fun action film awesome in its unoriginality.

Main Review:

'Ye tera torture mere liye warmup hai' is all the muscle bound Tiger Shroff needs to say. Some people might think the movie is tortuous because it's a mish-mash of all Rambo, Van Damme and Arnold Schwarzenegger movies of the eighties. I loved it because it added Tina from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai to the mix.

Bindaas Copy Karo!

Helicopter rising from below as hero stands on clifftop, hero hiding in the waters by the waterfall, hero killing the last of the group of mercenaries, hero decimating armies of mercenaries toting AK-47s bare hands. All scenes copied from Rambo movies. Sigh. Thankfully Tiger doesn't grunt. He does a half a Hrithik seethe. Like I said, copy, copy, copy. But your counting of copycat scenes fails because the background music challenges you to have one rational thought.

Randeep Hooda shows up as an costume director's wet dream when he wears those drop
crotch cotton pants, beads, scarves, and headgear. He wears a plaited beard to add the shock value and smokes up in public, because, Goa. His name is Loha Singh Dhul or LSD and he's a cop. Obviously a good cop because he says,' Pehle Udta Punjab zameen par laya ab doobte Goa to bachane aaya hoon.' And he's saying this to DIG police Manoj Bajpai who took on the silly role simply because he wanted a weekend in Goa. 

The director of course has no control over the script because they added a policeman called Kute, and lets the 'kutte ho ya kute ho' dialogue occupy more than five minutes. That how highbrow the sense of humor is.

The best of the action scenes is when like Van Damme Tiger swings from a vine with an AK47 decimating mercenaries like cockroaches. The scene is shot so everyone looks like a miniature version of themselves. I rubbed my eyes. Am I back to second grade, playing GI Joe?

Romancing Like Kuch Kuch Hota Hai

Not even close. I mean the heroine dies (I would've pushed her off the Banana boat in the Goan oceans, she's so boring). yes, they try hard to make her interesting: she's a sassy 'creative types' whose best asset is her smile (you're facepalming as the hero lists these qualities). She's a cheerleader, an organiser of the college fest, pushes basketball players in a gym (that could house a small village) and writes her cell phone number on the basketball and tells him she doesn't like stalkers and he could call her but she carries pepper spray. 

Before you wonder why, you are ready to dive into your coffee and never emerge because she confesses: if she says 'i love you' to anyone they tend to die. I like my coffee so i imagine a spinoff horror movie where people die when they hear the words 'I love you'...

Should Karan Johar see the film he's sure to faint to see Disha Patani, the dead heroine doing a Tina style wave and nod to Tiger...

So why give 2 Stars?

For the zabardast acting by Manoj Bajpai (DIG Ajay Shergill) when he squeezes his thumb hard into the bleeding bullet hole he has made in the hero to hurt him more! It's Overacting 101.

For the Hyderabadi lingo that comes and goes as it pleases from poor Deepak Dobriyal's mouth, who has to say, 'Court mein kya lungi mein bhi sach boloonga' with a straight face.

For the two baddies who fight synchronised. Who thinks up of these skills? 

For the facial fuzz on Tiger Shroff, that stops him from looking like a child with a gym rat's body. It also makes him less like his dad, and sometimes it's a good thing. 

For the fact that Tiger does not dance. That boneless thing he calls dance is a tad creepy. He dances at some shaadi, the generic Punjabi song, but the action he performs is great.

For the funniest appearance of Prateik Babbar as a buffed up druggie bad guy. It earns a mention because he's just so bad at anything he does. And it challenges you to not say 'Chutiya' every second he's on screen. Pardon my French.

For making me believe the shot of kidnapped child coming down stairs is actually carrying a gun. Kids in cinema are that scary.     

And yes, I like mara mari, so I will watch another baby Tiger film. I'm a conservationist. 


डेबिट कार्ड वापरावर दंड

डेबिट कार्ड वापरावर दंड

penalties on debit card usage

वृत्तसंस्था, नवी दिल्ली

एकीकडे डेबिट कार्डांचा वापर वाढून ‘डिजिटल इंडिया’ला प्रोत्साहन मिळावे, यासाठी केंद्र सरकारतर्फे मोठ्या प्रमाणात जागृती करण्यात येत आहे. मात्र, दुसऱ्या बाजूला बँकांतर्फे खात्यात कमी शिल्लक रक्कम असेल आणि डेबिट कार्डने खातेदाराने व्यवहार करण्याचा प्रयत्न केल्यास त्यासाठी दंड वसूल केला जात आहे. काही बँका तर डेबिट कार्डाचे पहिले तीन व्यवहार वगळता पुढील प्रत्येक व्यवहारावर दंड किंवा दंडात्मक शुल्क वसूल करत आहेत.

खात्यातील शिल्लक कमी असतानाही ग्राहकाकडून ती रक्कम काढण्यासाठी कार्डचा उपयोग केला गेला, तर तितक्या वेळा १७ ते २५ रुपयांपर्यंत दंड आकारला जात असल्याचे निष्पन्न झाले आहे. लोकांनी जास्तीत जास्त डिजिटल व्यवहारांवर भर द्यावा यासाठी केंद्र सरकारकडून विविध स्तरांवर प्रयत्न सुरू आहेत. रोजच्या दैनंदिन व्यवहारात रोख रक्कमेचा वापर कमी करूनन ग्राहकांना डिजिटल पेमेंटकडे वळवण्यासाठी वेगवेगळया योजना आखल्या जात आहेत. यामध्ये बँकांची भूमिका महत्वाची आहे पण प्रत्यक्षात बँका मात्र ग्राहकांकडून अनावश्यक शुल्क वसूल करत असल्याचे दिसून आले आहे.

एटीएम मशिनमधून पैसे काढण्यासाठी ज्यावेळी तुम्ही डेबिट कार्ड स्वाइप करता त्या वेळी तुमच्या खात्यात पुरेसे पैसे नसले तर ‘ट्रॅन्झॅक्शन डिक्लाइन’ (नाकारले) असा मेसेज येतो. आता या ‘ट्रॅन्झॅक्शन डिक्लाइन’साठीही बँका १७ ते २५ रुपयादरम्यान शुल्क आकारत आहेत. एटीएम किंवा पीओएस मशिनमध्ये डेबिट कार्डचे ‘ट्रॅन्झॅक्शन डिक्लाइन’ झाले तर, स्टेट बँकेकडून प्रत्येक वेळी १७ रुपये शुल्क आकारले जाते. ‘पीओएस मशिन’ने ‘ट्रॅन्झॅक्शन डिक्लाइन’ केले तर ‘एचडीएफसी बँक’ आणि ‘आयसीआयसीआय बँके’कडून २५ रुपये शुल्क आकारले जात असल्याचे समोर आले आहे. ‘बँकांकडून आकारले जाणारे हे शुल्क अनावश्यक आहे. ज्यांचे घर महिन्याच्या पगारावर चालते, ज्यांची फारशी बचतही नाही अशा लोकांकडून शुल्क वसूल केल्यामुळे डिजिटल पेमेंट व्यवस्थेबद्दल नकारात्मकता निर्माण होते,’ असे मत आयआयटी मुंबईतील गणिताचे प्राध्यापक आशिष दास यांनी व्यक्त केले. बँकांच्या मते ज्याप्रमाणे चेक बाउन्स झाल्यास त्यावर दंड आकारला जातो, त्याचप्रमाणे डेबिट कार्डचे ‘ट्रॅन्झॅक्शन डिक्लाइन’ झाल्यास दंड आकारण्यात येत आहे.

आयसीआयसीआय बँक अशा ‘ट्रॅन्झॅक्शन डिक्लाइन’ व्यवहारांसाठी २५ रुपये प्रति व्यवहार दंडात्मक शुल्क घेते. त्याचप्रमाणे एचडीएफसी बँक व येस बँक या बँकांही २५ रुपये शुल्क घेत आहेत. भारतीय स्टेट बँक अशा व्यवहारासाठी १७ रुपये आकारत आहे.

‘ट्रॅन्झॅक्शन डिक्लाइन’ न होऊनही बँकांकडून शुल्कवसुली होतच आहे. मात्र, सरकारने त्यासाठीही मर्चंट डिस्काउंट रेट अर्थात ‘एमडीआर’ची मर्यादा निश्चित केली आहे. दुसऱ्या बाजूला केंद्र सरकार बँकेच्या ग्राहकांना शाखा किंवा एटीएममधून रोख रक्कम काढण्याऐवजी डेबिट कार्डच्या माध्यमातून पेमेंट देण्यासाठी प्रोत्साहन देण्यासाठी मोहिमा हाती घेत आहे. दास यांच्या मते चेक बाउन्स होणे किंवा ईसीएस रद्द होणे यामध्ये तिसऱ्या व्यक्तीचा संबंध येतो. खात्यात रक्कम नसतानाही अशाप्रकारचे व्यवहार झाल्याने बँकेला भुर्दंड बसतो. त्यामुळे संबंधिताकडून दंड आकारला जातो.

दरम्यान, कमी शिल्लक रकमेच्या अभावी एटीएम ‘ट्रॅन्झॅक्शन डिक्लाइन’ होण्याचा आणि चेक किंवा ईसीएस रिटर्न होण्याचा एकमेकांशी काहीही संबंध नाही. त्यामध्ये कोणीही तिसरी व्यक्ती समाविष्ट नसते. मात्र, नॅशनल पेमेंट कॉर्पोरेशन ऑफ इंडिया त्याला व्यवहार मानत नसल्याने कार्ड जारी करणारी बँक त्यासाठी कोणतेही ‘इंटरचेंज पेमेंट’ करीत नाही.

‘दोन व्यवहारांपर्यंत दंड नको’

प्रा. आशीष दास यांच्या मते डेबिट कार्डचा नजरचुकीने किंवा बँकेमध्ये रक्कम शिल्लक नसताना वापर झाल्यास दरमहा किमान दोन व्यवहारांपर्यंत कोणतेही शुल्क आकारण्याची आवश्यकता नसल्याचे मत दास यांनी व्यक्त केले. मात्र, त्यानंतर दंड आकारता येऊ शकेल, असेही त्यांनी स्पष्ट केले.

– ‘ट्रॅन्झॅक्शन डिक्लाइन’साठीही बँका १७ ते २५ रुपयादरम्यान शुल्क

– ‘पीओएस मशिन’ने ‘ट्रॅन्झॅक्शन डिक्लाइन’ केले तरीही दं


It's like remix of your favorite song.

1 star

Mini Review:

When you watched the first of the Kaiju franchise, I loved the big robots that battled the scary Kaijus that emerged from the the ocean... I have watched the Vulcan mind-meld so the neural handshake was a concept you bought into. But this Uprising is like watching someone else play your video-game and do it so badly you groan and you groan and you groan. There's too much CGI, too many soul-less Robots and too many cadets who want to save the world. 

Main Review:

'If my dad were alive, he'd give a speech,'says Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) who plays the rebel without a pause (you just wish his CGI mom would show up and smack him hard). You miss the charismatic Idris Elba who played the dad in the original film and you wish this dumb son had died instead. So Jake is a thief and when he's not trading gadgets for Oreos and Sriracha sauce (seriously? They wanted us to believe this was a post apocalyptic world?!). And nobody missed the terrible Salt Bae impression with Sprinkles. Ugh. 

So Jake bumps into another motorbike-borne thief who turns out to be a girl. Predictable? This is just the beginning. She's fixed an old Jaeger that is small in size. Of course they get caugh and are sent off to becoming Jaeger pilots. There is a cliched bunch of cadets (of course there are Chinese and even an Indian cadet. Because, marketing!), the same ole aggression and fighting and of course there are speeches about 'In here, we're family!'

You puke into your popcorn.

Of course there is a shady Chinese Corporation trying to take over the world and a mad scientist who is so obvious in his 'mad' scheme that even the usher in the theatre could guess without having seen the movie. The worst part is, you miss the strange resemblance with someone famous on the good-looking guy because there's so much CGI. So many neon dials in the air to twist and turn, and more wire scenes than Cirque Du Soleil. 

And you miss the Kaijus. In the original film, you felt a coldness creep over you as the Kaijus emerged from the Ocean. It was a scary thing going back home on the Worli Sea-Link after having seen the original film. You wished there were saviors like Idris Elba. In this film, you yawn. The moment you saw the rogue Jaeger emerge from the ocean, you figured out it was actually being operated by Kaijus. D-uh!

Then they imply that there may be a third film in the franchise. This time you puke into your coffee cup. Thankfully, it's empty. Poor Idris Elba! So many of us must have remembered him in the original film that he must be getting hichkis. Oh. That is another film. 

(One star because you remember Idris Elba so much. And yes, the handsome lad is Clint Eastwood's son.)

Review: HICHKI

The Only Hitch, It's Been Done To Death.

2 stars

Mini Review:

Take all the underdog students and hero teacher films and
add a dose of Right To Education and a give the teacher
Tourettes so we also learn to empathise with differently-
abled people. The film checks all the boxes of stereotypes
and yet only a couple of scenes manage to touch you. It’s
neither Dangerous Minds, nor is it To Sir With Love. Rani
Mukherji needed a stronger, smarter script.

Main Review:

Rani Mukherji plays Naina Mathur, a highly qualified teacher
with just one ‘problem’. She suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome
which means she is unable to control the hiccup-like sounds
that become worse when she is nervous. She gets a job to
teach the kids who have been given admission to a fancy
school simply because the school cannot deny admissions to
kids because of their poor background under the new Right To
Education. So far so good.

We see how Naina suffered ridicule at school and was inspired
by a wonderful teacher - a sequence very well and rather
empathetically shot. We see how her dad (Sachin Pilgaonkar)
does not understand his daughter and wants to send her to a
special school, but her mother (Supriya Pilgaonkar) wants Naina
to lead a normal life. Naina has not forgiven her dad for leaving
them. So far, so good.  

Then begins the descent into stereotype. The Principal
(Shivkumar Subramaniam) is good, but the Science teacher
(Neeraj Kabi) is bad. The kids from grade 9A are all privileged
and scholarly but some are rotten. The kids that Rani Mukherji
has to teach are in 9F: ‘Failures’, ‘Not fit to study in this school’,
‘poor’, from the wrong side of the tracks. The kids themselves are
so stereotypical you begin to gag on your popcorn: One raps, one
is a math whiz but gambles on the street, another brings okra to
cut so she can cook for the family (you begin to wonder if there’s
no other vegetable poor folks eat), there’s a lad who works in the
bicycle shop and he’s mad at the whole world, another works in a
car chop shop who is best friends with the boy who is mad at the
world. Then there’s a couple of girls who are very bright. Another
belongs to a Muslim community and her father has great dreams
for her. Yes, there’s also romance in the form of the lad who’s
mad the world likes a girl who is a prefect and from the fancy ‘9A’
hence perfect. By the time you groan you watch kids play pranks
on the new teacher by sawing off the legs off her chair, explode
stuff in a bin, you know science stuff…

The teacher sticks on and teaches them math and science and
chemistry (no, don’t ask why no other teacher in school is
assigned to that class!) and makes it all fun and games and sticks
up for the naughty students (winning them over stereotype box
checked!). The Science Teacher Mr Wadia (Neeraj Kabi) hates
these kids, and no one tells you why. He’s just nasty. So we see
Naina’s encounters with this bad teacher and hear platitudes like:
There are no good and bad students, only good and bad teachers.
You know there will be a faceoff between the privileged students
and the underdog students. Thankfully there is no math/science
olympiad but a final exam. Asif Basra gets to play the school peon,
Shyamlal, who you know will turn out to be a turncoat. You are
beyond groaning at this point. Could it get any more pathetic?

It’s been shot well, and Rani’s angry helpless breakdown at school
will bring tears to your eyes, but everything else is so sloppily
written, you know how it is going to end. Yes, Sachin the dad
comes around, the badly behaved kids call her their Pole Star,
guiding light, the bad teacher realises his prejudices and all’s
well you think, but no! The filmmakers have watched Vinod
Khanna’s film Imtihan (1974) and want to give the same iconic
tears and joy farewell to Naina Mathur as well… Rani Mukherji
is a good actor, and to see her in this stereotypical high school
film is a pity. This film is nice, but fails to touch your heart.

(this review appears on


(But Bored And Baffled, yes!)

0.5 stars

Mini Review:

There’s an art teacher who lives a double life as an art forger.
A henpecked dad who is really a contract killer. A politician
who runs drugs and hence killing and looting. And sundry
characters who are do random stuff to try and get these
vastly different silly tales together. Every action is so
exaggerated and so needless, you feel your brain cells
die slowly.

Main Review:

Contract killers in Goa? A national minister who lives and works
in Goa? Punjabi cashew seller who lives in a house with Charlie
Chaplin on the door and a secret basement like in The Kingsmen?
An Art teacher who leads a double life as a art forger because he
has an original Renoir and accepts payments in cash which are
placed in a railway station locker on a platform full of people? Add
to that the hero named Baba, who has not a job to his name
(hence the title of the film), but turns into a killer with training from
his dad, and a heroine who owns a beach shack (the film is set in
Goa, what else is a girl going to do?!) but is shown do no work but
prance around in bikini tops…

Oh yes, there is a corrupt Home Minister (National post, but he’s
just hanging out in Goa…), his secretary called Narottam who
knows all the nefarious plans: Let’s distract the police chap who
is after my drugs by putting a contract on a businessman who is
helping me and when the policeman catches the killer of the
businessman he will forget about the drugs and then we shall
have the cop killed by my henchmen who also kill for me and run
my drugs and other illegal businesses, and all during a carnival
which happens inside a hotel. I will also get that businessman to
help me buy an original painting from a man called Santa Claus
as a gift to my girlfriend turned blackmailer and then go chasing
a man in the Santa suit because the girl who owns an art gallery
figures out it was a forged painting and add a few Russian girls
and foreign ‘experts’ who know instantly (by running a UV light
over the painting) that it is real or fake.

But the cop and the contract killers become partners and the
Minister gets killed and a gaggle of mindless photographers show
up at the art gallery (and at the railway station to ask the cop of
he caught drugs/money and then haplessly ask, ‘Yeh kya hai?’,
yes it means ‘What is this?!’ and we in the audience wonder too)
and force the blackmailing gallery owner to return the painting to

There’s more, but as audience your brain has been trying to
assimilate all these random acts in the name of comedy and
wondering why good actors like Anupam Kher and Annu Kapoor
are both acting like buffoons and why Manish Paul breaks the
fourth wall and talks to the audience, why Kay Kay Menon (who
has aged disastrously in the film) wanders about the film with
grey eye lenses and a cowboy hat. My heart goes out to Manjari
Phadnis who is shown either prancing to forgettable songs or
just being plain sullen at finding out that her dad is the Santa
Claus art forger (I facepalmed rather loudly in the theatre
when I heard ‘Hava Nagila’ being played as the crooks called
Jamaal and Kamaal chase Santa around his house with a
Christmas tree and all!).

Mind numbed by these scenes accompanied by bizarre back-
ground sounds you emerge from the theater not having laughed
at anything. And you don’t want to tell the readers about how
Jamaal was killed by an African poison pointed baton dropped
by a drone…

(This review appears on

Review: RAID

Look Ma! Singham With No Fistcuffs

2.5 stars

Mini Review:

An honest Income Tax officer leads a team in a raid to find
hidden assets of a local heavy, a political leader, at his
bungalow called ‘White House’. The dialog is tight, the good
guys are as smart as the bad guys are clever, the danger
seems real and it’s money well spent when you watch this
film. If only the thrill of watching money tumbling out of
walls was not marred by silly songs and a whiny wife.

Main Review:

An honest Income Tax officer is recognised by one thing: he gets
transferred ever so often. Ajay Devgn brings his Singham style
dialog delivery (but none of the action, because government
officer) to his role as Amay Patnaik, who has just been posted
in Lucknow.

When his fellow officer says, ‘He’s just been posted, so he’s like
a bottle of soda that’s just been opened. Will make a bit of noise…’
you know you’re in for a decent viewing because a non-descript
chap has been given a nice line. The film does not disappoint.

Saurabh Shukla plays Tauji, the big, bad bully in UP (a state not
exactly known for its lawfulness) who lives in a sprawling
bungalow called ‘White House’ and his fiefdom extends all over
the state and he knows he’s the man political parties come to for
money before the elections. He fancies himself as a political
kingmaker as well. So when Amay Patnaik shows up early in the
morning, Tauji chews up the scene when he says, let me drink my
tea first and then disturb me. Saurabh Shukla has done this role
so many times, he makes a really good bad guy.

The income tax officers search the premises, the family of Tauji
make great adversaries (the men and women alike, and you will
fall in love with the old granny) and we watch the drama unfold.
Ajay Devgn is good as a stern officer, but you wish he too would
get his hands a tad dirty instead of strategising. The strategies
are good fun too. And the audience as well as the officers
are surprised.

But, there’s a ‘but’ in the story that prevents this film in becoming
a super watch. This involves a really stupid whiny wife played by
Ileana D’Cruz. ‘Don’t go!’, ‘Be safe!’, ‘I worry when you’re gone’,
‘I didn’t know marrying you would mean getting transferred so
often!’... She is so redundant to the story, they could have simply
made the narrative tighter by removing her (and the two ridiculous,
unnecessary songs filmed on her), giving Ajay Devgn a free hand
to be the strong honest tax guy.

The background music is jarring and at one point you wonder
how much of Dunkirk’s music they’re imitating. And badly.
Also there’s one character who is shown to be dishonest who
suddenly turns out to be a good guy. But there are so many
good things about the film you can forgive these illogical things.
All because the granny is supremely fun to have around.

The script has been written with lots of restrained humor and no
one ruins the lines. The politics of wait and frustration is very
well shown. Not just Tauji’s family, the politicians are cast well.
The reveal in the end is good. This movie could have been
brilliant but for the wife.       

(this review appears on )


A Brave Try, But It Tries To Be Too Much. 

1.5 stars

Mini Review: 

You've watched at least two films on the Air France airplane being hijacked by PLO and German Freedom fighters from Athens and taken to Entebbe where the Israelis staged a dramatic rescue of their natives. This film tries to balance out the hijacker's point of view to the Israeli point of view and attempts to look kindly at hostages as well as... You get the picture? The film attempts to sit on too many stools and falls down.

Main Review:

Cinema needs to have a point of view. Right or wrong does matter, a story needs to take a stand. You won't have heroes and villains if the narrative humanises Darth Vader, say or even Gabbar Singh. They need to be bad, so we can cheer Luke Skywalker and Jai and Veeru. 

We understand that hijackers were not merely doing 'timepass' as Indians say - when they're idly watching the highlights of the 1984 cricket world cup semi finals - when hijacking the flight. They were not practising for something bigger. They had to have reason. And it seems pretty lame reason for a publisher to get into the revolution business. or for that matter for others ('one revolutionary was killed so we want to hijack a plane' seems illogical). But Daniel Bruhl makes a difference to the narrative. He shows us how a good guy doing a bad thing has a conscience that will not let him shoot innocent people. His, 'We did not sign up for this' is a cry everyone should heed. People are still being pushed into extremism when they just wanted justice in the world today.

Eddie Marsan plays Shimon Peres is so uncannily like the original, it is weird to see him on screen. The Israeli politics is really well documented, and you wish they had spent more time on this rather than the hijackers. The conversation between Rabin and Peres is legendary and documented. It is a pity, there's not enough in the film.

Idi Amin, the man who kept human head in freezers for consumption is shown to be so genial here, you barely imagine him as the cruel dictator, cannibal, madman who ruled Uganda with machine guns and black magic. His regime was so brutal and violent, you cannot imagine him saying, 'I'm sorry, your governments are trying to do their best...' to the hostages at Entebbe.

By the time the rescue happens, you are wondering where the point of view of the story is going. By the time Rosamund Pike who plays the German hijacker Bridgette Kuhlmann feels awful and can feel the certainty of death, you just wish a bullet that Gabbar and his dacoits spray in the air in the past (1975) would travel through time and kill her and end our misery.


Review: GRINGO

Poor Cousin Of Blazing Saddles.

1.5 stars

Mini Review:

Remember when a new Black sheriff rides into an all White town in Blazing Saddles? You can imagine all kinds of fun even when you haven't seen the film. Alas, Gringo had the potential. It does make you smile but doesn't make you fall off your chair. The humor is not dark enough, the story goes round in circles and even though the cast is enviable, the final product isn't.

Main Review: 

Here's the clip from Blazing Saddles: 

So when the Mexican druglord says, 'How difficult can it be to spot a gringo negra in Mexico' you know this could get really funny. It brings a smile to your face, but it does not push the envelope towards dark comedy not does it do slapstick right. It just remains somewhere in the middle, waffling.

The cast is enviable: Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton, Amanda Seyfried, Thandie Newton and David Oyelowo in the title role, you'd think something good will come out of it. 

All you see Joel Edgerton do is fuck Charlize Theron in the office (it's done so badly there's no other word to describe the act as just that. Plus, you know if Hollywood cannot get even this right, there is something wrong with the movie.). They are so obviously in the wrong, you pity them. The Druglord's men are so bumbling, you feel bad for them. And then you don't know why Amanda Seyfried's boyfriend is so ready to become a mule for the drug dealers without having any motive but money. It's 2018 for godssakes! Is he the only man to have not watched Narcos on Netflix? If they can get the big guys, you think they wouldn't get a guitar shop chap?

When it comes to David Oyelowo's character, there is nothing to suggest that he might be capable of dreaming up schemes, let alone stage the kidnapping. In fact, it is as the character Mitch who is supposed to be an expert extractor says, 'It's so stupid it could almost work.' 

That sort of summed up the movie for me. Could have been great fun. Just isn't.

watch: to see why Blazing Saddles was so much better...