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Valimai Movie Review: A film with more stunts than substance

Modified On: 27 February 2022 | Reviewed By:

Storyline: A super cop tries to track down the brain behind a series of robberies and murders, but things turn personal when his family becomes pawns in the criminal's game. Review: The film starts with a series of chain-snatching incidents and smuggling committed by masked men on bikes in Chennai.


Director: H. Vinoth | Music Director: Yuvan Shankar Raja

Valimai Movie Poster

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The public is up in arms against the police force, who are clueless. In an internal monologue, the police chief (Selva) wishes for a super cop to prevent such crimes. The action then cuts to Madurai, where a temple procession is underway. Then we are introduced to ACP Arjun (Ajith Kumar), the film’s protagonist, whose introduction is intercut with scenes from the procession. Like a God who is held up high, we see this character rising up from the depths. In short, a whistle-worthy hero-introduction scene.

Arjun gets posted to Chennai and starts investigating a suicide case that seems connected to the chain-snatching and drug-smuggling cases from before.Even as Arjun starts going after the leads, the gang's mastermind (Kartikeya Gummakonda) realises that the cop is on to him, and things turn into a dangerous cat-and-mouse game, in which Arjun's family become pawns. Can Arjun save both his family and the city from this dangerous criminal?

It's a clash between stunts and sentiment in Valimai, a somewhat engaging but overlong action movie that hides its simplistic writing with elaborate action set-pieces. We keep getting a sense of Vinoth trying hard to strike a balance between making a gritty action movie and satisfying the demands of a star vehicle, with message, sentiment, and 'mass' moments. Despite the story having scope for rooting the action scenes in emotion, he is content with treating them as just standalone set-pieces.

The film deals with its secondary characters and their relationship with Arjun in a superficial manner. They are mainly one-note — loving mother (Sumithra), drunkard brother (Achyuth Kumar), supportive colleague (Huma Qureshi); or worse, caricatures — corrupt cops (GM Sundar and Dinesh Prabhakar), tattoo-sporting, Goth-like villain's girlfriend (Bani J). The arc of a dejected brother (Raj Ayyappan) who goes rogue, which is what drives the plot in the second half, isn't built convincingly. We look for something different, like Huma's character, which is refreshingly not that of a romantic interest.But some how the plot begins to feel like it was written mainly as a relief between the stunt scenes.

Vinoth does try to make up for this with the stunts, which are mostly big-screen spectacles that are superbly choreographed (Dhilip Subbarayan is the stunt choreographer) and are undoubtedly the film's highlight. A bike chase in the pre-interval portion and a chase involving a bus, a truck and many bikers in the second half are definitely edge-of-the-seat stuff. But they can only do so much, and we wish the director had put in as much effort into the other scenes as well.

In totality, Valimai is a battle between good and evil. There are clear analogies to Batman. Like that masked superhero, Arjun, too, doesn't believe in killing criminals to eradicate crime. We often see him dressed in black, with his face hidden under a helmet, especially when is taking on the bad guys. He, too, is up against an anarchist who doesn't believe in society. And at one point, he faces a situation in which he has to choose between saving his loved ones and the lives of the public.

And Ajith plays this role like a superhero. The other characters, too, look at him like he's one. The actor lends credibility to the stunt scenes and tries to elevate the other scenes with his star power.

Valimai has also been dubbed and released in Hindi, Telugu and Kannada.

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