If there is good a genre that is only too poorly represented and exploited over the past twenty years, it’s definitely been the adventure film. Kids of the 80s and 90s grew up with stars in their eyes ahead The Goonies, IndianaJones, In pursuit of the green diamond or The Mummy. The children of the 2000s have nothing to eat since Nicolas Cage stole the United States Declaration of Independence. It is therefore always with a certain excitement and a desire to be transported that we welcome a new adventure film.
And it is logically with this same enthusiasm that we wanted to believe in Ram Setuan Indian adventure film directed by Abhishek Sharma. On paper, the film wanted to be a kind of Benjamin Gates not very clever but entertaining, mixed with the witty-conspiratorial whodunnit à la Dan Brown. And the opening sequence confirms this ambition well by plunging us into the heart of a terrorist attack on an archaeological camp, all leading to the discovery of a huge statue of Buddha. Without crying genius, efficiency is there.
The floor is well written screenplay
The other good idea of the project was to mix Hindu mythology with the adventures of the characters. The whole story thus revolves around the famous “Adam’s Bridge” (Ram Setu in VO), an isthmus that connects India to Sri Lanka. As the sympathetically wobbly Brahmāstra, mythology and blockbuster can get along wonderfully. And during the sequences leading to the start of the investigation, it must be admitted that Ram Setu deluded with his jovially uninhibited tone and its archaeologist hero evoking a degenerate Indiana Jones.
The only successes of the film will be the moments when Abhishek Sharma understands the absurdity of the business and sticks to its somewhat silly but entertaining concept. One example is the exploration of the cave in Sri Lanka leading to the discovery of a mysterious door. Unfortunately, the rest of the story does not have the same perspective and completely loses sight of its mission as a pure product of pop culture.
When the adventure is finally present on the screen
THE CRUSADE OF TOO MANY
Beyond a few decently executed sequences, Ram Setu is scandalously amateurish for a production of this type. Accustomed to comedies without ambition, Abhishek Sharma delivers a feature film whose the total absence of staging evokes a production Pure Flix Hindu version. The editing makes absolutely no sense, which makes almost all the action scenes totally unreadable.
And even the somewhat garish epic tracks of the composer Daniel B George are not enough to camouflage poor dialogue. In an interview, the director proclaimed loud and clear that he has dreamed of making this film since 2007. Proof that one can have big dreams without an ounce of talent or coherent artistic vision.
When the audience leaves the room before the end
But the biggest technical rout is certainly on the side of the special effects. With a budget of around $20 million, Ram Setu is clearly not in the league of one RRR but still costs more than the event KGF: Chapter 2. The result is a digital porridge worthy of an Asylum production. With pandemic-related filming delays, the film crew was forced to trade practical effects for all-digital. Which is still not enough to fully explain such a lamentable rendering.
During some particularly bad sequences, Ram Setu has the sympathy to completely switch to the real pure juice nanar. We will mention in particular two helicopter sequences which touch on a divine mediocrity. Unfortunately, the film will not have not the politeness to assume his rout to the point of being unintentionally entertaining. The overall result is a lukewarm and dull feature film.
Tony Jones or Indiana Stark?
RAM IS NOT DEAD
Headlining the project is actor Akshay Kumar. Former glory of action cinema in the 90s, it has since converted into propaganda cinema to the glory of Narendra Modi and Hinduism. Even in a pure adventure story, he cannot help but fall back into his faults. His character is an atheist and progressive scientist? He will inevitably become a believer in the course of the story and return to traditional values.
This is particularly evident during the last third of the film. At this moment, Ram Setu completely abandons the slightest desire for entertainment to become a trial film whose challenge is to convince that the isthmus is indeed a divine creation. An embarrassing proselytism that will even become purely nauseating when the hero criticizes the people for preserving the Taj Mahal despite its Muslim heritage.
The bigger it is, the more it’s acceptable
Fortunately, Ram Setu is too stupid to be actually dangerous. The writing is flawed to the point that the feature film constantly contradicts itself. His pious morality does not hold up as he shows us at the start of the story religious extremists attacking the hero and harassing his son at school. His spiritual redemption then unwittingly leaves a bitter taste.
In the end, it’s a new missed date for actor Akshay Kumar. Dishonest, morally filthy, the film remains in the image of his recent filmography. We would have been satisfied with a low-end Indiana Jones, we end with a more than dispensable religious sermon.