Action films always work when a solid enough emotional motive drives the characters. Even though it is very simplistic and obviously over the top, what makes Nahas Hidayath’s debut venture RDX a comfortable watch is the solid reasons behind all those action sequences. Starting off as a revenge drama, Nahas and his writers shape the movie to almost look like a survival thriller. That emotional journey sort of makes us overlook the cliched template of this movie.
As the title suggests, the movie is about these three individuals: Robert, Dony, and Xavier. Robert and Dony are brothers, and they train in martial arts at Xavier’s father’s academy. Their deep friendship has led them to difficult situations due to their hot-blooded tendency to fight it out. In the movie, we see the events that happened around one particular fight they got involved in.
Spoiler Alert! At the beginning of the movie, we are shown this attack against Dony and his family by a group of goons. The setup and execution of that whole rivalry and its consequences are so impactful that a bloodshed-driven action drama becomes an inevitable solution to the whole mess. And just when you think it will be the heroes reuniting and thrashing the villains pretty straightforwardly, the screenplay decides to make that final showdown a question of survival. Despite the template and style being familiar and guessable, what makes RDX engaging is how the action is supported by drama in the story.
In a linear format, the story is a pretty simple and old-fashioned revenge. The cliched tropes in hero introductions and the equal division of punches between the heroes, etc., make the movie’s craft aspect very old-fashioned. But how the screenplay connects events to form a linear story makes things interesting. The love story of Robert has a direct link with the central conflict. The script by Adarsh Sukumaran and Shabas Rasheed uses that love story to show us the backstory of Dony and his wife. The gang that gets thrashed by the heroes at the beginning of the flashback is there till the end. The villain has multiple reasons to have this level of grudge against our heroes.
Alex J. Pulickal’s cinematography is obviously focusing on the style factor. But he mixes handheld and stylized shots to make it feel real in certain areas. Chaman Chakko extensively used match-cuts in most of the mass moments in the film, which mostly worked. I loved those simpler action moves that used martial arts rather than those that defied gravity. Sam CS’s background score works better in the movie when compared to the trailer. The decision to drop that song featuring the three heroes from the movie was smart, as it never really was a smooth fit.
Shane Nigam, as Robert, fits into the character’s description, and his standard expressions are really suitable for that role. Unlike some of his recent films, this one actually gives him a chance to be the wholesome hero with all kinds of emotions. Antony Varghese is like the quintessential name when there is action in a movie, or there is an action movie. But surprisingly, he plays the role of a guy who is a bit more reserved when it comes to fighting. Dony registers more as the calmer one among the lot. Neeraj Madhav as Xavier is very much the Nivin Pauly of Bangalore Days in terms of relevance. It is definitely not an insignificant role, but Xavier is more like that plan B help for these two brothers. Neeraj’s flexibility with the Nunchuks looks authentic on screen.
Insomnia Nights fame Vishnu Agasthya, who plays the movie’s main antagonist, manages to add a layer of intimidation to that character through his performance. Lal, Maala Parvathy, Aima Rosmy Sebastian, Mahima Nambiar, Baiju, Nishanth Sagar, Sujith Shankar, Midhun Venugopal, etc., are the other major names in the cast, along with Babu Antony, who plays a key role in elevating the climax.
RDX is a predictable template that adds purpose to action by supporting it with a good amount of drama. The crowd-pleasing balancing act is definitely making the movie a compromised product in totality. But the fact that every set piece and event in the story has this connected feel makes it engaging, and sitting through it never becomes a task.
RDX is a predictable template that adds purpose to action by supporting it with a good amount of drama.
Green: Recommended Content
Orange: The In-Between Ones
Red: Not Recommended