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Upperstall Review


Official Site

Knock Out


Hindi, Thriller, 2010, Color

In just two hours- 11am to 1pm - an enigmatic vigilante pulls off an incredible, mind-blowing coup. A new age lone ranger (Sanjay Dutt) who has the latest weapons and gadgets at his fingertips, is a man who trusts and depends on no one. Working alone, he effortlessly uses his wit, his skills at hand-to-hand combat, and his love for stealth technology, to manipulate and trap his elusive target. The target, (Irrfan Khan), is a street-smart investment banker who has made his way to the upper echelons of power. A man who unwittingly holds the key to India's destiny, he is a man consumed by his own obsessions, an extremely clever and unstoppable foe. Hot on the trail of these two men is a hardnosed television journalist (Kangna Ranaut). She will stop at nothing, or so she believes, till she is faced with the ultimate call of conscience...

If for a minute you’d believe that Knock Out was an original idea, a unique film scripted tautly in the specific and singular setting of a phone booth, the story of a man targeted in the crosshairs of a psychopath who is hell bent on destroying the life of the trapped man piece by piece but seemingly has ulterior motives, you’d come away mighty impressed. If nothing else, with the quality of ideas.

Instead the film is a complete rip-off (or knock-off, if you prefer) of Joel Schumacher’s Phone Booth. Worse still, it’s not even as good as the original. Phone Booth had your heart pounding louder every subsequent minute as events lead to situations getting more and more claustrophobic making you squirm in your seat. Instead here you have Sanjay Dutt, the smoking puppeteer, making horrible-hair Irrfan literally dance to his music. The crowd looking on is laughing at him. And we in the audience can’t help but laugh at the sordid mess Mani Shankar has made of the concept. It is entirely pointless to review a film that borrows so heavily from a Hollywood template. It’d be akin to commenting on the quality of paper of a Picasso print. Or listening to Shiamak Davar covering Queen songs (ref: CWG closing ceremony) and complaining that he doesn’t quite sound like Freddie Mercury.

Mani Shankar’s idea of making the film issue based (politicians siphoning off black money and cheating the country) is good, and perhaps even noble. But it has nothing to do with the Phone Booth template. If only he’d be inspired to present it using his own grey cells and not a DVD, there is no doubt he’d have ended up with a critically acclaimed film. So what if it might not have been a Picasso, it’d be at the very least, his own.

Herman Melville once said, “It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.”

Still want to see it? Rent Phone Booth now. Again.

Upperstall review by: filmbear

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