28 Apr 2017

Movie Review: Baahubali 2: The Conclusion: Loud Mass Audience Fun!


Yes, I know why Katappa killed Bahubali and soon you will too. This potential stumbling block is handled competently. But arriving there takes way too much screen time, affecting the movie's impact. Now, about the rest of the movie. 
Good First Half: It was with childish glee that I greeted the opening credits of Baahubali 2: The Conclusion. The Hindi dubbed version continues Katappa's narration. The two-part film is finally the father, Amrendra Bahubali's story. With an unanticipated humour track, before the fight scenes queue up, SS Rajamouli sets up the first half with some believable plot twists.
How Amrendra (Prabhas) falls for Princess Devasena (Anushka Shetty), how it affects his relations with Sivagami (Ramya Krishnan) is good (though rushed) writing. The evil duo of Bhallala Deva (Rana Daggubati) and Bijjaladeva (Nassar) add a Shakuni-Duryodan touch to proceedings. Katappa (Sathyaraj) is but a helpless catalyst to the intrigue. Sathyaraj gets a nice surprising comic cameo though.
Epic, Exaggerated Treatment: There is no letting up to the epicness and magnificence of it all. No punch just lands, it sends you flying. When you stomp the ground, it cracks and breaks. A crowd erupts in protest and a mini-earthquake ensues. I loved it! Buildings, statues, chariots are fragile items when superhumans fight.

Rajamouli revels in the action sequences. Even an unconvincing airborne flight of soldiers over fort walls is detailed to part-conviction. As with Eega/Makkhi (2012), the director adds intelligent solutions and touches to otherwise bloated action. Baahubali 2 rests on its action, Rajamouli addresses the dynamics and creativity of fighting to entertaining, if invincible effect.
Glitches: Religious symbolism shows up in the film's critical parts, the resultant scenes end up as contrived. MM Kreem's loud, crass background music is ear-splitting and headache-inducing. The soundtrack is decent though. Art and VFX are fabulous. 

The final confrontation is a predictable, crass, age-old revenge saga. How Mahendra Bahubali regroups a handful into facing off with a 30000+ army in no time, is one among the film's many logic-blinders. Depicting violence and beheadings as deserved punishment is a misdirected, dangerous film concept.  
Influences: Characters and the storyline echo Ramayan and Mahabharat, the great Indian epics. A dam bursting sequence has a Lord of the Rings film trilogy deja vu. Numerous kung fu movie sequences echo in the action sequences. But nothing is plagiarized, the action scenes especially, sparkle with original touches. 
Performances: Prabhas plays up both Bahubalis with a macho-regal demi-god command to it. Satyaraj almost steals the show but is matched by Ramya Krishnan and Anushka Shetty, both women playing powerful, dynamic parts with great assurance. The antagonists, well played by Daggubati and Nassar are one note, victims of poor, lazy writing. Tamannaah has little to do here. 
Verdict: Baahubali 2: The Conclusion builds up as a great summer entertainer, but loses much of its fizz in the packed up final 30 minutes. It still holds up as a good fantasy adventure film, thanks to a certain standard Rajamouli sets up, superior special effects and the performances. An enjoyable one-time watch at the theaters, certainly not disappointing...far from it. 
By the way: They added an extra 'a' to the film title overnight. Superstition? Numerology? Phonetics?
Read the Bahubali:The Beginning Review 

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