Cast: Vijay, Pooja Hegde, Selvaraghavan, VTV Ganesh, Yogi Babu
Clearly, Vijay’s on-screen responsibilities have changed. In his previous film ‘Master’( 2021), he played a professor who fought for children at a juvenile home. Even in ‘Beast’, his heart beats for children. So you don’t get an explosive hero-introduction scene. Vijay is starting to prefer roles that help him have harmless fun and question the formula for a commercial star.
Lokesh Kanagaraj’s ‘Master’ was overlong due to too many action sequences but it still worked well because of a solid story and an even more solid villain in Vijay Sethupathi. Whereas’ Beast’, directed by Nelson, goes nowhere thanks to a screenplay that doesn’t burst with energy. It suffers from shoddy writing and execution.
Vijay plays Veeraraghavan, an ex-RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) senior officer who is mentally disturbed after one of his missions goes wrong. He visits a mall in Chennai that is taken hostage by terrorists. They demand the release of their leader, who is held captive by India. Now it’s up to Veeraraghavan to rescue the 250 odd people from the impending doom.
When young filmmakers collaborate with established stars, they make no qualms in accepting that they are fanboys of the veterans. Be it in Karthik Subbaraj's ‘Petta’, ‘Master’ and now ‘Beast’, the directors have brought out the classy avatars of these big stars. The charm of Vijay is the biggest strength of ‘Beast’.
Firing bullets and slaying his enemies with a knife, Vijay oozes style. The slow motions, aided by Anirudh’s 'massy' background (Beast Mode) music, give you a high. His humour timing is strong as ever. The now-famous Halamathi Habibo is sure to thrill you while Jolly O Gymkhana is a nicely-choreographed peppy number.
Despite the film’s admirable style quotient, ‘Beast’ is a let-down because a lot was expected from it. Nelson pulled off a 100-crore grosser with ‘Doctor’, which starred Sivakarthikeyan who isn’t an A-list actor.
‘Doctor’ deserved its success because of its excellent dark humour. Nelson managed to generate laughs from the most serious of situations. His humour, both in ‘Doctor’ and debut film ‘Kolamaavu Kokila’, was derived from eccentric and unpredictable situations.
‘Beast’ has the same actors as Nelson’s previous two films yet its comedy falls flat thanks to minimal creativity in writing. Yogi Babu is completely wasted. The hilarious VTV Ganesh emerges as the best of the lot. You never get tired of his hoarse voice and lazy dialogue delivery.
This is a film wrapped up in a small schedule and hence, the logical loopholes are glaring. The action choreography shines only in some parts as the story takes turns that will force you to suspend belief. The film’s major plot points are silly. Towards the end, the feeling of watching an outdated, one-man show film is inevitable.
As it happens with most commercial cinema heroines, Pooja Hegde’s character too, has no importance to the film’s conflict. The plot doesn’t feel the need to use her to solve the problems. Thanks to half-baked characters, the movie suffers from a slow screenplay. Selvaraghavan is fine but it’s not an extraordinary role to stand out.
Nelson has made a film that tries too hard to be special. He needs to up his game as he gears up to direct Tamil cinema’s biggest superstar: Rajinikanth.