Sunday, January 25, 2009

HIJACK - Slick, Restrained, Indian Action Flick

Kunal Shivdasani's debut Bollywood feature is a slick, relatively restrained action movie based on the real-life hijack of an Indian airplane, IC 814. The first hour of the flick sets up Bollywood B-lister Shiney Ajuja (LIFE ON A METRO), as your typical perfect Bollywood hero. He's an airport engineer, widower, and perfect father to a cute little girl. There's some flirting with other women but basically we are wacked over the head with the idea that he's a Good Guy. At the same time, the film establishes the threat of Islamist terrorism in India, as incarnated in the Bad Guy, who's currently in detention. The second half of the film changes from sentimental family drama to full-blown action flick. The Bad Guy's goons hijack the plane that the Hero's daughter is on (flying to a debate contest with her teacher). Naturally, he breaks into the plane when it's grounded by simply unscrewing the under-carriage. He then proceeds to take out all the bad guys while simultaneously flirting with Esha Deol's air stewardess. All this is a bit Bollywood-formulaic, but I have to say I was impressed by the director's handling of the action scenes and Esha Deol and Shiney Ahuja's restrained performances. 

HIJACK was released in September 2008 and is available on DVD.

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