Review: Rocky Handsome (2016)

Explosions behind while walking in slow motion…check!

Starring John Abraham, Diya Chalwad, Patrick Kazu Tang, Nishikant Kamat, Teddy Maurya

Fight Choreography by Kaecha Kampakdee and Sunil Rodrigues

Directed by Nishikant Kamat

Rocky Handsome is a Indian remake of the terrific Korean film The Man From Nowhere. That needs to be stated right at the front for this review. Now remaking this film would be a tall order considering how much I loved the original, but given the story, I wondered how they could differentiate their version from the Korean one and make it their own…

With the exception of location and a bollywood dance number, it’s pretty much the same film. And that’s to the film’s detriment.

Abraham stars as Kabir, a local pawn shop owner on Goa who lives a very quiet, unassuming life. At least he tries to until his neighbor’s young daughter Naomi tries to connect with him. He slowly lets his guard down to the point where he cares about the child, but her mother’s indiscretions draw the ire of local drug lords Kevin (Kamat) and his brother Luke (Maurya) who take Naomi to be part of a new industry: organ harvesting. Now Kabir must become the man he used to be, plying his lethal skills in an attempt to get Naomi back. But does he want to survive himself?

If you’ve already seen The Man From Nowhere then you’ll find not much is different. The story beats are exactly the same, the action set pieces are basically the same with a little different flavor thrown in. John Abraham just didn’t bring much onscreen for me as Kabir. He was monotone and had no real screen presence. Nothing he said or did really “popped” out on screen for me. I never felt Kabir as a character was a truly dangerous man, with only his prior exploits explaining it to me. Diwa Chalwad did a good job here as Naomi, but she lacked any chemistry with Abraham, which is vital when it comes to having the audience understand why Kabir comes out of retirement to wreck house. Director Nishikant Kamat is a standard villain as Kevin, not really bringing anything new, pretty much as bland as his name.

Maurya as Luke fares a little better, but there’s just a lot of “try hard” as he attempts to be the crazy, unpredictable brother. His performance is spirited but didn’t suck me in to what he was trying to do.

The fights even follow the same style/pattern, with the knife scene being the last, same as the original film, but I found the fights laughable, with the choreography trying to work around the minimal skills Abraham has on screen. The editing work undercranks the shots to make him look faster than he is, but it’s stilted between shots. The final, final knife fight between Abraham and Patrick Kazu Tang has some good moments, but that’s because Patrick sells his part so well, and he actually IS skilled in martial arts, and has to carry the bulk of the fight. Overall I found the fights to be ho-hum rather than HOLY SH**T!!

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 5

Rocky Handsome isn’t a terrible film by any stretch, but it doesn’t do anything to elevate the original or give anyone else a reason to watch it. The Man From Nowhere isn’t a film that needs to be remade, and certainly not like this.