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Attack Movie Review: John Abraham's action-drama is taut and entertaining, delivers style with substance

Attack brings a novel concept to Bollywood. It introduces a 'super soldier' powered by AI and cutting-edge tech. Director Lakshya Raj Anand is not aping any source for inspiration of action choreography and his vision shines through in set pieces, especially during the second half.

Devasheesh Pandey Devasheesh Pandey Updated on: April 01, 2022 10:37 IST
Attack Part 1

Attack movie features John Abraham and is directed by Lakshya Raj Anand

Photo:INSTAGRAM/LAKSHYA RAJ ANA
  • Movie Name:Attack Part 1
  • Critics Rating: 3.5 / 5
  • Release Date: Apr 1, 2022
  • Director: Lakshya Raj Anand
  • Genre: action

John Abraham's Attack is Bollywood's new-age action entertainer, a thoroughly enjoyable experience and a complete cinematic package. Director Lakshya Raj Anand introduces a new style to the genre that in Hindi films has long been overshadowed by the South Indian cinema-inspired fight sequences. Noteworthy is the fact that despite John being the focus of the film, the spotlight is on the subject and treatment of the movie. Attack has a very stylised look and feel. It tips its hat to the masala movies but goes far and beyond into newer and unexplored territories. 

John as army man, Arjun Shergill, meets us right in the middle of the battleground. He and his team are on a mission to capture a terrorist and bring him to India. The tone of the film is set right at the word go. The first 12 minutes are action-packed and an indication of what is to follow. The entire opening sequence is set during the night and the contrast lighting cinematography is done well. Here, the sound of firing guns blends and becomes one with the background score, a leitmotif in Attack. Arjun and his team succeed in their mission but beyond the call of duty, they leave alive a kid who is wearing a suicide bomb. This decision becomes a thorn in the flesh later on. 

Arjun meets Ayesha (Jacqueline Fernandez), an air hostess, and they fall in love. A song shows in montages how they fall fast and hard for each other. The aim of this track is to give Arjun's character an emotional side to lean on. This also shows us the softer side of a hardened army man. A dash of comedy also lightens up the mood. Jacqueline looks beautiful in well-lit scenes and her pairing with John does the trick. In a terrorist takeover of an airport terminal, Ayesha is killed and Arjun suffers paralysis from the neck below. A man of action, Arjun is now wheel-chair bound, helpless and dejected. 

Meanwhile, Subramanyam (Prakash Raj) a high-ranking official in the government is shown to be trying hard to push for the human-testing of the AI-powered super-soldier program, R&D of which is headed by Saba Qureshi (Rakul Preet Singh). Saba is idealistic and wants to help paralysed people with her tech. She refuses the government and Subramanyam's request to use it on completely capable beings. So, Arjun is brought in as Saba's first test subject.

Through incision surgery, Arjun is fitted with an AI-powered chip IRA. This tech helps him not only get back to his normal life but with the help of this new-age tool, fighting styles and other such knowledge, learning and perception-based programs can be brain-wired into anyone's system, as shown in The Matrix. Arjun now becomes the first 'super soldier' of India. 

Even though the pacing of the film becomes slow during the middle part, the director puts in an extended fight sequence to move things faster. On the downside, there is exposition in this part of the film and information is overfed. Arjun's first mission as 'super soldier' will be to help save over 300 civilians, the PM and other politicians taken hostage inside the parliament by Hamid Gul (Elham Ehsas). This unfolds in the second half of the two-hour-long movie and it is Attack's stronger suit.

In the second half, which runs for about an hour, things go into overdrive. It feels almost like compensation for the slowed-down pace for the narrative's sake earlier. Lakshya's direction shines and John's screen presence complements nicely the filmmaker's vision of a larger-than-life-human. With fast-paced editing and novel camera angles, the second half breezes through while keeping you on the edge. There is not a single dull moment here and you won't be able to blink due to the rising suspense and stakes at every beat. Lakshya is not aping any source for inspiration of action choreography and his unique take shines through in the set-pieces

Elham's acting hits the right note and the dialogue part becomes better. Even though he is not physically as daunting as others, his presence is felt. An extended fight sequence inside the parliament stage is well shot and executed. It also brings the first person, video-game style to the film. This is the highlight of Attack.

For those who may question the element of realism in action in the film, it's meant to be staged and in a certain way since the character is shown to have capabilities beyond that of a normal human. In introducing this concept, the sky is the limit and the franchise can go wherever the filmmaker's vision can soar and beyond.