The character of Madhi, played by Vikram in his new release, Cobra, has this hallucination problem. And if my guess is correct, that could have been the germ of the idea that made Ajay Gnanamuthu make this film. But the film is a tedious one that just goes on and on with either flat thrill bits or cheesy emotional tracks. By the time the end credits role, you will have difficulty figuring out why certain characters were killed.
One fine morning, the Interpol office in France had a red alert scenario as a hacker got into their servers, and he even executed a prince during the prince’s wedding. The precision with which this operation was executed got the attention of a student in Chennai whose study about this criminal made Interpol officer Aslan Yilmaz visit Chennai. Aslan’s investigation, with the aid of that student’s findings, is what we see in Cobra.
Seeing the first look poster of the movie, if you have felt that it’s yet another Chiyan fancy dress, I have good news for you. The fancy dress part is done neatly, and the screenspace it eats is very minimal in the 183 minutes of runtime. It is actually the writing where Gnanamuthu fails to add anything exciting. He is spoon-feeding the audience way too much, and the emotional tracks are highly outdated. And there are too many things happening in different areas that you kind of feel like pausing the film to focus on the most relevant track.
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For someone of the caliber of Vikram, the role he plays here is a cakewalk. And to be honest, the movie isn’t helping him to explore anything new. The Anniyan hangover is clearly visible in his presentation of the character. There is a bit in the film where Vikram has to do a synchronized performance to show us the hallucinated phase of Madhi, and I felt terrible for him. Because the performance was terrific in that scene, but the writing had already ruined the relevance of such a scene. Roshan Mathew plays the film’s antagonist, who has that arrogant swagger for sure, and he is butter smooth in being irreverent. But Gnanamuthu stretches the character’s arrogance far too much, and towards the end, the performance starts to look a bit loud.
Srinidhi Shetty is that usual heroine, and compared to KGF, there is some space for performance in this movie. Cricketer Irfan Pathan, who looks slick with that hairstyle, plays the Interpol officer, and he was a fine choice. KS Ravikumar, John Vijay, Mrinalini Ravi, Sarajano Khalid, etc., are there in the cast with some notable screentime. Miya and Mamukkoya are the other Malayalam actors in the movie, and Mamukkoya doesn’t even have a single dialogue.
The primary issue with Cobra is its unfocused writing. It almost feels like they are trying to create a spectacle without really creating a grounded story. The image of Madhi in the first half and what gets revealed to us in the second half about his past and “paasam” doesn’t make much sense. And to give us a better understanding of the character’s emotional side, Ajay Gnanamuthu goes back and forth to a backstory that feels exhausting. Fancy VFX is not the way to show hacking, and it is terrible to see filmmakers writing such stuff with peripheral knowledge. For some of the “cool” hacking techniques, the audience laughed. The movie’s cinematography was fine in depicting the scale and style, while the visual effects were tacky in many areas. AR Rahman’s music isn’t contributing heavily to the film other than the occasional placement of the Adheera song, giving us false hopes that something stunning is about to happen.
Cobra is an overwritten, unnecessarily convoluted, thematically outdated thriller that wants to squeeze out the best of its hero. To an extent, Ajay Gnanamuthu has achieved that with certain scenes. But in totality, the film is exhausting and borrows everything from many places. If they can release a trimmed version with fewer backstories, I think it would at least reduce the numbness of this thriller.
Cobra is an overwritten, unnecessarily convoluted, thematically outdated thriller that wants to squeeze out the best of its hero.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended