Dec 12, 2009

A little intentionally lost in translation.


Every so often, I don't think about the consequences of my actions. Today, while halfway through this megalith of a movie, I thought to myself oh my god, what have I done?

Granted, I thought Race was pretty hilarious. In all sorts of ways, many of them having to do with the bad subtitles and the fact that it is two and a half hours long.

Let me see if I can explain this quickly before getting to my notes. Okay. Try to imagine what would happen if James Bond from A View to a Kill finds himself trapped in a Bollywood version of Goodbye Lover that was remade with heavy inspiration from The Fast and the Furious. Imagine what sort of brilliance/insanity it would take to pull that off, because it was kind of awesome. Also, you can watch this in full on YouTube, if you feel so inclined. If you really want to go wild and have a Netflix account...enjoy, because for reasons I cannot understand it's available instantly.

You know you want to.

We begin with a wreck. But let's back up, because we've got backstory afoot! A narrator helpfully informs us that "people live, die and kill too," whatever that means, before we are off exploring the world of Ranvir, the Brad Townsend/Batman of Bollywood. Ranvir owns Stallions, possibly the most blunt stud farm name in history, in South Africa somewhere. When he is not busy breeding and racing his horses, he is busy bungee jumping into a moving convertible that is speeding toward a cliff so he can play a game of chicken with himself...or something? I think the narrator called this "outdoor sports." Whatever, everyone loves it.

Ranvir has a half or step-brother named Rajiv, who drinks whiskey in a flask in slowmo. We learn that "people drink tea when they wake up, but to get rid of the hangover of the night, Rajiv drinks beer." Then there is Sonia, Ranvir's model girlfriend, and Sophia, Ranvir's personal assistant, who "loves Ranvir, but Ranvir thinks it is just her efficiency." (Quotes, by the way, are absolutely and totally direct.)

At the racetrack, a rival trainer has paid off Ranvir's jockey to very obviously fix the race. Rival trainer laughs at Ranvir's misfortune, but Ranvir helpfully mutters, "when a person laughs a lot, he also cries a lot" right before giving the jockey a stare of doom. Soon after, while driving along some South African road, he nearly sideswipes the jockey's car, pulls out some device, and casually makes the jockey's car explode after explaining that "who can stop someone's departure?" I don't know what that means, Ranvir. You and your strange logic!

Well, the jockey is dead because Ranvir is channeling his James Bond/Batman/Brad Townsend pretty hard. He and Rajiv road rage back to Stallions and absolutely nothing is ever heard about this jockey ever again. And then Ranvir flips his car over a truck, appears to die, but is totally fine at a hospital two seconds later, not a scratch on him. 15-20 days of hospital rest later (I don't know why), they have a party so Rajiv can rock out in a music video to something about "rock the dance floor" and "rock the jamboree." Sonia strolls in, and Rajiv falls for her, indicating that he will give up his alcoholism if only she would be with him. Ranvir being the good guy he is breaks up with her so Rajiv can have a shot. Sonia isn't too excited by this prospect, especially when Rajiv starts to imitate Edward Cullen and stalks her outside her house by leaning on his car and acting all weirdly emo. Only to saxophone music instead of Muse. And predictably she finds this charming, wanting to get married right away!

But Rajiv has looked up her bio-data! god? They decide to get married and plot together to kill Ranvir in order to commit insurance fraud. Moving on, Ranvir is off personally exercising this racehorse that records a time of "two minutes and seven seconds" which is "seven seconds more than last time." I don't know what they're up to, but it doesn't sound productive. Rival trainer shows up with an offer to buy Stallions, and Ranvir says that rival trainer is an ignorant moron with a small brain, and can he borrow his pen? Without rival trainer's knowledge, Ranvir switches the pens with one of his own that happens to be a microphone. During the races, rival trainer happens to have the pen and happens to decide to very loudly fix the upcoming race. Ranvir decides that he will also fix the race, and when he appears triumphant afterward (despite losing money, however that works) he appears in front of rival trainer to personally inform him about the microphone pen. That's right, Ranvir is awesome and he's going to show you how!

Personal assistant Sophia points out to Ranvir that he lost money on this weird James Bond moment, but Ranvir isn't having that, saying, "if someone defeats and kills me, I can tolerate that." Well, whatever, because sooner or later Sonia comes along and tries to guilt trip Ranvir into stall sex, because he has just come back from riding in the rain and has taken off his shirt. Because this is Bollywood, they can't really kiss, but they can run around in the rain and rub all over each other, and have sex in stalls while other people just randomly have hidden cameras trained on them. Totally okay.

Ranvir then goes to a club called Gallops and thinks about having sex with Sonia some more while Sophia tries her best to get him to notice her for more than her efficiency. Rajiv says, "The gun is ready." Oh, really? Is it, Rajiv? I'm starting to wonder if they didn't mean "The trap is set" or something a little less weird, because since when are guns not ready?

Plot twists happen. I cannot begin to explain them, but it turns out Sonia is actually with Ranvir instead of Rajiv, but then Ranvir bites the pavement from twenty floors up and it looks like he's gone from the story at the hour mark. So you know he's not gone from the story, as the guy who plays Rajiv is not as good looking or featured in more than one dance number.

Then the narrator shows up to inform us all that the detective who is dealing with Ranvir's death has an assistant, Mini, who is "good at office work!" Exclamation point! Also, "often people die because of their wife." And "hold this banana and get in the car. I will eat it peacefully inside." Then there is this exchange:

Mini, the assistant: "You are having sugarcane at such a time!"
Detective: "The dead body won't take my sugarcane!"

I wish I could tell you what this means, but all I really know is that he was chewing on a piece of sugarcane the size of a flute.

Eventually we discover that Sophia and Rajiv are actually married, sort of? Also, Rajiv has daddy issues and jealousy issues stemming from bike races he always lost to Ranvir when he was ten. Sibling rivalry sucks, Rajiv. Of course, according to this movie the oldest sibling is always the most awesome because that sibling is oldest...and therefore the most awesome. Birth order is everything, and for the love of god don't question it.

And then Ranvir comes flying (literally) out of nowhere and Batmans his way back into the heart of Sonia, saving her from certain doom by truck, steel beams, knife, and parking garage.

Ranvir: "The plan is working."

Then we take a break for another dance video, right before Ranvir awesomes his way back into Stallions with a gun and a ballsy suggestion that the brothers put all the insurance money (which has doubled to 200 million, somehow) on a match race instead of just putting a bullet in Rajiv's brain. Because a match race is more fun! I guess! Instead of using bicycles, as I was really hoping would be the case, they use cars. Ranvir proposes they switch cars, because it is the driver and not the car that really matters. Rajiv appears to have prepared for this, and cut the break lines of his own car, sending Ranvir careening down the road.

Ranvir, not at all ruffled by certain doom that could easily be avoided by simply taking his foot off the damn gas pedal, decides to call Rajiv and explain to him, while he is racing around at god knows what speed, that he has seen the movie Speed and was inspired to plant a bomb in his own car that will go off if Rajiv slips under 100 miles per hour. Rajiv is clearly upset by this news, and also the following obstacle course that suddenly pops up: tourist buses, boats, kids on four wheelers, and an RV.

Well, the RV takes out his car and it explodes in mid air. Ranvir crashes into some buckets of water, climbs out of his car and sadly explains that he did not actually plant a bomb in the car, despite the fact that the car exploded by itself., yeah.

Detective comes out of nowhere to explain that the movie is not done! He is important too! Ranvir takes the insurance money after having successfully faked his death, gives half to the detective, who I guess helped him out the whole time, and then ends the movie by helpfully explaining how awesome he is. Let the man explain!

Dance video!


BushBaby said...

It's a Bollywood movie set in SA? Ohmigawd I need to watch it. :P How random!

Mara said...

It is a Bollywood movie set in SA, which was additionally amusing to me because the subtitles kept calling this Cape Town property their "ancestral" home.

Parts of it were shot in Dubai, although I think the majority was on location in South Africa. And get ready for it: they are making a sequel. If it involves horses, I am so there.