Thuppakki (2012) Movie Review By Stephen McLaughlin


Director: A.R. Murugadoss
Writers: A.R. Murugadoss (dialogue), A.R. Murugadoss (screenplay)
Stars: Joseph Vijay, Kajal Aggarwal, Vidyut Jammwal 

I’m now into my forth Thalapathy Vijay movie and I must say it’s going to take an almost perfect film to topple “Master” from my number one slot but to be fair “Thuppakki” was the closest yet.

On the back of Kaththi and Sarkar I was more optimistic after discovering the film watching and reacting a musical segment. I’ll be honest watching the movie made that segment make sense more as some of the main characters appear in this dance number (great tune by the way)

But I need to get this off my chest. As much as I enjoyed this movie there is a nitpick that revolves around the first 25 minutes that I can only describe as “Genre Jumping”. The start of the film appeared to be building up a romantic comedy which confused me slightly after reading the synopsis describing the film as an action / thriller. I assume they were trying to humanise Jagadish in a way.

But wait! Hang in there and it finally arrives with a bang….a Big Bang in fact as our hero Jagadish (Thalapthy Vijay) narrowly escaped an eye popping bus explosion. This scene is particularly graphic but well executed in the technical areas of the movie which I felt were at a high standard. This is the catalyst to carry the movie into an action thriller with Jagadish using his “particular set of skills” to uncover who is behind the bus bombing and more shockingly what is about to go down with the suicide bombers bigger plan.

This part of the story is where I was mostly engrossed and it may sound a little cruel but I wouldn’t have missed the romantic comedy that much. Although Jayaram as Jagadish’s army superior sequences were really funny and Kajal Aggarwal’s Nisha added a fiery love interest for the movie’s protagonist it didn’t transition well for me.

The action is where it’s at for me and unlike some of Thalapthy Vijay films this doesn’t have a clear social message apart from army life and the sacrifice of leaving loved ones behind (in the movies ending). It wasn’t beating us over the head with a clear social message or being that preachy about it either.

There are so many stand out moments in the film for me. The escaping the hospital and running side by side (Jagadish and the first suicidal bomber turned informant after an intense interrogation scene).

The 12 man assassination mission was slick and lasted only 5-6 minutes. I’ve seen whole films base their story on this condensed action moment and revealed Jagadish’s calculated mind and from a film makers point of view was exceptional in its multi screened look as his squad intercepted the suicide bombers plans.

For me Thuppakki’s antagonist Sleeper Cell’s leader played by Vidyut Jammwal was a worthy villain. This was something I felt lacked in Sarkar and for menacing presence I would put Jammwal character a close second to Vijay Sethupathi’s Bhavani in Master. Vidyut Jammwal’s is a skilled martial artist and performs his own stunts and all of his scenes you can sense he is a person not to be trifled with…well unless you are Jagadish that is.

Overall, Thuppakki’s running time of 2 hours and 45 minutes didn’t bother me as I enjoyed the story and the thrill of the action sequences. My only gripe was the RomCom element of the film but it’s a slight nitpick and nothing more. Thalapathy Vijay has a great supporting cast and the lead shows again his range in acting is top notch. Director A.R. Murugadoss (Kaththi and Sarkar) once again delivers a frenetic action packed thriller with some twists on the journey.

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