I wanted to like Players – first off, I really like Abhishek Bachchan. Secondly, I thoroughly enjoyed director duo Abbas-Mustan‘s Race and was looking forward to this one. However, sadly, Players falls flat. Since it’s supposed to be an action-packed, edge-of-the-seat thriller, the worst thing I can probably say about it was that it was boring.
Victor dada (Vinod Khanna), criminal mastermind, sets a team of “players” to execute a robbery of Rs. 10,000 crore worth of gold being transported from Russia to Romania. There’s Charlie, team leader and voice mimic (Abhishek Bachchan); Spider, computer hacker (Neil Nitin Mukesh); Bilal, explosive expert (Sikander Kher); Sunny, make-up artist (Omi Vaidya); Ronnie, illusionist (Bobby Deol); and Riya, automobile expert (Bipasha Basu) – even though her real expertise seems to lie in looking good and seducing men (which, everything aside, she seems to achieve quite well).
The problem here lies in the fact that the movie moves too slowly. We’re expected to suspend common sense for a while, which is difficult to do when you have too much time to spend thinking about the film. While the ideas for the heist are good (and I assume they’ve been taken from The Italian Job), everything seems too easy – the team finds out the security arrangements too easily, they figure out how to breach them just as quickly, and their execution goes off with very little hiccups. With the gold in their hands, that should be the end, right? It’s only the intermission. Turns out that they’re betrayed and now have a second mission – this time they’re joined by Naina (played by Sonam Kapoor), Victor’s daughter, who wants in on the action. There are, of course, your Abbas-Mustan style twists and turns, but they were so alike Race, I had them pretty much figured out.
The film is made and shot stylishly, which is a plus. There are also elements of comedy thrown in with Omi Vaidya and Johnny Lever, which will elicit laughs. There was a set-up of romance but nothing seemed to materialize, though personally I didn’t miss it. The soundtrack does not have one memorable song. And, finally, the dialogues were limp and lacked punch.
The acting, too, was nothing great. Abhishek, while okay, didn’t shine. Sonam pouted too much and looked like her heart wasn’t really into the movie. Bipasha Basu tried, but her acting was too reminiscent of Race to stand out. Sikander Kher and Bobby Deol failed to make much of an impression. Neil Nitin Mukesh grated on my nerves – he looks Chace Crawford-like pretty, but only serves to irritate with his “Open up, baby.” Omi Vaidya proves to be the best of the lot – his comedy works and he manages to stand out in this ensemble cast. And, of course – it was so good to see Johnny Lever on screen again! ;)