Now, before you read the title and hit me with the “People like you won’t understand lah bro! You need to be a hardcore Rajnikanth fan to vibe with these sorta movies,” bullshit, let me first say, bitch please. Upon finding out that they may (or may not) start showing Kabali on Thursday at midnight, I ran to the nearest cinema, in the fucking rain, and started waiting in an already jam-packed GSC Tropicana City Mall for FIVE HOURS, as they were only going to start selling Kabali tickets at 11.30pm.
Also note that prior to lining up for KABALI, I only had around 7 hours of sleep in 72 hours, working my ass off with my homies and KDU to enter the Malaysia Book of Records for The Largest Lollipop Mural. So yes, I am a HUGE superstar Rajnikanth fan! Also, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the happenings of Indian cinema, wondering why the fuck places like One Utama and Tropicana City Mall have magically transformed into Little India, it’s because Kabali baby! #JustRajnikanthThings
I desperately wanted to love this movie, especially since his previous movie, Lingaa, turned out to be a colossal piece of shit. And, there are a lot of great things in this movie. The opening scene is the kind that would cure a 90-year-old paralysed grandpa’s Erectile Dysfunction. From the moment Rajnikanth does pull-ups before exiting his prison cell, till the time he suits up, every single guy in the cinema hall already ejaculated 76 times and at least 52 girls got pregnant just by watching it, or heck, just by being in the vicinity of the cinema. Don’t believe me? Ask the kakak who was minding her own business sweeping the floor outside the cinema where Kabali was showing. One minute she’s picking up trash, next minute she’s seven months pregnant. Not scientifically possible? Screw science, it’s Rajnikanth! However, I did notice something in the first couple of seconds in the film that didn’t sit right with me, but more on that later.
Another great thing about Kabali is it’s mind-numbing, eargasmic soundtrack. Remember Junkie XL’s legendary tunes in Mad Max: Fury Road? Or what about Junkie XL and Hans Zimmer’s collaboration in Batman V Superman?! Best shit ever right? Yeahhh, this movie is worth watching for that purpose alone. Neruppu Da (translates to: fire bro) isn’t just the best Rajnikanth movie theme song EVER, but it will also most likely end up being the second best soundtrack of the year (Hollywood, Bollywood, Kollywood, HongKongWood, MorningWood combined), only behind Is She with Us by Zimmer and Junkie XL. Coming in second behind Zimmer is like finishing the race 0.5 seconds after Ussain Bolt. You lose but you’re still pretty much GOD! Okay, fine. Maybe Neruppu Da doesn’t come close to the finest works of Zimmer and Junkie XL, but seriously, just listen to it.
Here, Rajnikanth is pretty much how he is in every movie that he’s in. 50% charisma, 50% ridiculous, 1000000000000000% EPIC! He walks around in a suit with rock music playing behind like he’s a motherfucking superhero. Okay, not “like” a superhero. He pretty much is a superhero. I’m convinced, after years of watching Rajnikanth’s films over and over and over and over again on constant loop, that he will be able to take down Superman, one hand tied behind his back, without Kryptonite. Neruppu Da!
Other than walking around in a suit, he also whacks people with a stick that appears from under his sleeve, kills 200,000 people with guns that hardly ever need reloading, and rams into a man with a car. One time, he frees a parrot from its cage. “What? Who cares about freeing a parrot from its cage? That’s not cool!” you ask? Clearly, you’re unfamiliar with Rajnikanth. He could be sitting on the toilet bowl, reading a newspaper, tighty whities hanging on his ankle, and it’ll still be THE COOLEST SHIT EVER! For the second time, #JustRajnikanthThings.
For those of you who claim everything above sounds like absolute garbage, then you better not be binge watching the Die Hard series. Because it’s pretty much the same thing. Rajni movies are pure action movies just like Die Hard, Die Hard 2, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Live Free or Die Hard, Die Hard: Fuck Jai Courtney, John Wick, The Equalizer, every James Bond film (besides Casino Royale), Transporter (not the latest one) and motherfucking Taken. All these movies are absolutely ridiculous.
“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you’re looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that will be the end of it. I will not look for you; I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you and I will kill you.”
C’mon, who talks like that on the telephone when their daughter is kidnapped? Liam Neeson, that’s who. Absolutely ridiculous? Yes. Absolutely entertaining? FUCK YEAH! Ridiculous movies can be ridiculously entertaining if executed well. Therein lies the problem with Kabali. Unfortunately, Kabali isn’t like the original Taken or the original Die Hard. It’s pretty much a combination of Taken 2 (or worse yet, Taken 3) and Die Hard: Fuck Jai Courtney.
Note that everything that I’m about to type here on out, hurts, really bad. I take absolutely no pleasure in this.
While Rajnikanth himself is phenomenal in this movie, along with a couple of supporting cast – Dinesh and Dhansika – the rest of the cast are laughable at best, I-should-ask-my-cat-to-act-instead at worst. Winston Chao is HORRENDOUS as a villain. You can find better acting skills on RedTube, I shit you not. To be fair, maybe it’s not Winston Chao’s fault. Throughout the movie, he speaks in English and the occasional Tamil. Every time he opens his mouth, you feel the need to stuff Ron Jeremy’s penis in it. Shut the fuck up, you sound terrible. There is a scene somewhere at the end where he speaks in Mandarin, and for once, he sounds comfortable. Which begs the question: Why couldn’t they just let him speak in Mandarin? There are subtitles after all. Or why not hire someone who actually speaks English fluently? Andy Lau maybe? Andy Lau speaks amazing English and he’s a damn good villain. Watch Internal Affairs. Unfortunately, we have to settle for Winston Chao, who in this movie looks like a mash-up between Prince and Spongebob Squarepants.
But perhaps the biggest pile of crap in this movie is the entire second act. Just like in Taken 2, this is a movie that tries to be more than what it should be. There’s an entire angle about Kabali’s wife. She’s dead? Oh no, she’s alive? Oh wait? Is she? Oh maybe she’s not? Maybe she’s in India (most of the movie takes place in Malaysia), maybe she’s in France? Maybe she’s in a French colony in India? Maybe she’s senile? Maybe she’s… NOBODY CARES! Then there’s a whole other angle about a girl who reminds him of her dad bla bla bla bla bla bla. AND some stupid twist about his daughter.
THERE IS ALSO A BACKSTORY ON HOW HE MET HIS WIFE, THEY FELL IN LOVE… OMG, CUT THE CRAP! You will find more entertainment taking a dump in the cinema toilet than actually sitting through the entire torturous second act. I’m all for familial themes and all that sentimental garbage, but it has to fit within the context of the film. In Baasha, you actually care about Baasha’s family and friends because they actually have character depth and are integral to the story. Here the familial themes only bog down the film and drag it to the drains.
How about this instead? First scene: Retired gangster Kabali is mowing his lawn, joking around with his wife and daughter. Second scene: Bad guys kill Kabali’s family. The next one hour – Neruppu da, blood, blood, blood, guns, violence, kill, kill, kill, neruppu da, neruppu da, one-liners neruppu da, blood, blood, orgasm, orgasm, fights in trains, fights on trains, fights in warehouses, fights in whorehouses, blood, one-liners, blood, violence, revenge, neruppu da, one-liners, one-liners, fight, fight, blood, blood, swag, one-liners blood, THE END. Best movie ever!
Writer and director Pa. Ranjith fails at the most basic aspect of scriptwriting and directing – knowing what the movie exactly is. Is it pure action? Is it about family? Is it about fighting for Indian rights? Is it about education? In the end, it’s an incoherent mess of a movie. Often times, it feels like a collection of scenes just thrown together without rhyme or reason.
Cinematographer Murali G films everything poorly. Kabali lacks scope, scale and is seriously lacking in cinematic value. Seriously, how can you fail to film someone doing pull-ups? Don’t even get me started on the editing. Everything is made worse by the Malaysian censorship board. Kabali should have been rated 18, and it initially was. But, after much appeal from God-knows-who (clearly money-minded assclowns), the film received a PG-13 certificate. And with that certificate comes horrible cuts all throughout, it actually pissed the shit outta me. Violence is censored out, the word “bitch” is replaced with “dog”, and the word “Keling” is removed completely. How can you have an “Indian VS Chinese” gangster movie without violence, swear words and the word “Keling” spewed at least 359 times? That’s like watching a movie about African American slavery where the white people don’t call the black people nigger, but instead they say, “Hello Mr. African American sir.” *face palm*
Kabali is a weird movie. It had its great moments for sure. The first 30 minutes and last 20 minutes standout in particular. There is a scene where Kabali and his gang members are sitting at the dinner table, when he indirectly tells one of his members to get the fuck out before he does something that he might regret. From his facial expression to his line delivery, excellent. Classic stuff! But, the experience of watching the entire second act, is like attending the funeral of someone you don’t know.
It’s disappointing that while Kabali had its awesome moments, it’s nowhere close to Rajnikanth’s high octane orgasm-inducing movies such as Baasha, Annamalai, Padaiyappa, Muthu and Arunachalam. Instead, it ranks as my second least favourite Rajni movie, only above Lingaa.
But for Rajnikanth alone (because he’s legitimately that awesome) this movie is…
P. S. This movie consists of less songs than most Indian movies. There is one love song that pops up somewhere in the middle, but this is where half the cinema heads out to buy more refreshments, while the other half plays Candy Crush on their phones. Trust me, Indians hate this random love song bullshit too. Except that one grandma sitting in front of me. She was bobbing her head humming along. Go home grandma, you ain’t cool.