Guwahati: Attack, John Abraham’s most recent big-screen outing, offers plenty of opportunities to swoon over his stunning looks and impressive physique.
John is sometimes credited with carrying a film on his shoulders, but in Attack, the actor and debutant filmmaker Lakshya Raj Anand took this a little too seriously, as John, as a “super soldier,” is literally the only man out there killing all the bad guys.
Science and sorcery, two of Attack’s most pervasive elements, necessitate a willful and total suspension of disbelief. Importantly, Anand keeps the fast-paced hostage drama from being an all-out, terrifying assault on the senses.
The lead actor is credited the two-hour sci-fi thriller’s narrative. Even as the political elite and the military think-tank tug in opposite directions, the hero plunges headfirst into a quest to save the nation from a band of violent guys from across the border.
Attack describes the tale of Arjun Shergill (John Abraham), a soldier who suffers in a terrorist attack and has chronic paralysis from the neck down, forcing him to live in a wheelchair. The incident also robs him of the woman he loves (Jacqueline Fernandez).
However, Dr. Saba (Rakul Preet Singh) has been working on a futuristic scientific technology that allows a paralysed person to stand on their own two feet, and Arjun has been selected as the appropriate science bunny to test for India’s first ever super soldier programme.
All of this is necessary in order to preserve the country from a fugitive terrorist mastermind. Just as Arjun completes the experiment, Parliament is besieged, and he is supposed to save the city from a chemical bomb detonation in the matter of time.
Before disaster hits, love blooms. A miracle in the form of a super soldier programme operated by a bright young scientist (Rakul Preet Singh) under the aegis of pugnacious defence ministry official Subramanian (Prakash Raj) frees the Major from his wheelchair and gives him a new purpose in life.
A series of action sequences follows his transformation into an invincible futuristic cyber warrior. It’s all based on a video-game sensibility, in which human motion is represented by big mechanical strokes. Attempts to fill the voids with emotion – remember, the hero is human after all, and has endured a horrible personal loss that continues to haunt him – do not provide the desired outcome.
With a running time of less than two hours, the picture is well-paced and never drags. It doesn’t waste time with unnecessary subplots or song and dance routines, instead focusing on a gripping story and edge-of-your-seat moments.
Attack is clearly separated into two sections – a wheelchair-bound John who is changed into a super soldier – and depicts a soldier’s obligation to serve his country using modern technology.
In Indian popular movie, the action hero is always a one-man army for whom annihilating gangs of armed opponents is a walk in the park. The larger-than-life fighter prototype in Attack wears a pseudo-scientific cloak. His invincibility is the result of a successful experiment in a defence ministry research and development centre.
The central attack on Parliament begins in the first half of the film and continues into the second. As a result, there is no room for diversions in an attack, unless the super soldier’s mind wanders and recalls the agony of the terrorist attack that made him hors de combat.
Before entering a besieged Parliament building, the hero faces a burglar who came into his house and stole his mother’s (Ratna Pathak Shah) ring, giving a taste of what is to come. Nehru Place in New Delhi transforms into a battleground for a fighter who is putting his abilities and strength to the test for the first time. He passes with flying colours, but he jeopardises the success of the mission entrusted to him.
As tensions rise and the terror mastermind pulls out all the brakes, the home minister (Rajit Kapoor), the army chief (Kiran Kumar), Subramanian, and other officials in the war room brawl.
To conclude, Attack is a high-action film that is slick and clever. It simplifies the science of heroism, certainly has its moments, but it could have done with a few more.