In one of the first sequences in Ahmed Khan’s “Baaghi 2”, an army officer posted in Kashmir ties a man to the front of a jeep and parades him through the streets. When questioned by superiors, the hero justifies his action by saying: “I didn’t mind the stone-pelting but when they burned the tricolour, I couldn’t take it.”
Having earned brownie points for establishing the film’s patriotic credentials, “Baaghi 2” moves on to the balmier locales of Goa, where army officer Ronnie (Tiger Shroff) has been summoned by his former girlfriend.
Neha (Disha Patani) is the quintessential damsel in distress. Teary eyed and desperate, she asks Ronnie to help trace her young daughter who was kidnapped two months earlier. But all is not as it seems. Neha’s husband and neighbours claim she has no daughter, and Ronnie finds himself entangled in a mess he didn’t sign up for.
A sequel in Bollywood’s unique style, this film shares nothing in common with the first “Baaghi” except for the protagonist and his name. What is similar though is that the director would rather focus on making his leading man look like an Indian avatar of Rambo rather than add some heft to the story and plot.
“Baaghi 2” is the kind of film that shows ‘Welcome to Goa’ signs at every street corner to depict the hero’s arrival in Goa. Khan prefers to tell rather than show, and spends much of the film depriving Tiger Shroff from doing any kind of serious action - the only thing Shroff is really good at. Instead, the 144-minute film meanders as Ronnie tries to trace the missing girl and get to the bottom of what is a bigger scam than a one-off kidnapping.
A remake of the 2016 Telugu film “Kshanam”, “Baaghi 2” is perhaps gripping in the last 20 minutes, when Shroff single-handedly kills scores of men, jumps off mountains, survives a helicopter crash with nary a scratch, and fires several machine guns into the ground in his quest.
As an action hero, Shroff is good, flexing every muscle and scowling at every opportunity. He even has a bare-chested action scene and if the cheers in the theatre were anything to go by, then Shroff might be a worthy successor to Salman Khan. But if he has to be better than Khan, then perhaps choosing films that have at least half the strength his muscles have might be a prudent move.
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