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Movie Review: Samurai (2002) Back to Movie
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Fans Rating: 78%%78%% 78% (54 votes)
Movie Still STORYLINE:
Thiagu (Vikram) is a small-town schoolteacher, who sometimes goes on secret undercover missions to kidnap corrupt politicians. The reason for this is because a girl he once loved (but never told her of his love), played with superb ability by Jaya Seel, committed suicide demanding that he should never take corruption lightly ever again.

Meanwhile, a young city girl (Anitha) comes to fall in love with Thiagu. And her father, played by Nasser, is hounded by a corrupt minister, and forced to do things an I.P.S. officer should never have to do. Thiagu kidnaps this minister as well.

The showdown comes when Thiagu is finally captured, and taken into court. As is usual in these sorts of movies, he argues for change in court, and then is taken to jail by Nasser. Now Nasser has a decision to make: should he arrest Thiagu, or let him go?

Hmm. Another "Gentleman"-like film. Another Shankar look-alike film. After "Citizen" and then "Tamilan" (both dismally horrible efforts), I had thought we'd seen the last of them.

But here's the good news. "Samurai" is not quite as bad as either of the two mentioned above. It's actually got several good points going for it. They are:

Vikram. Fine. I didn't like "Gemini" too much. But only Vikram could have played Thiagu so capably. He's like the Indian Russell Crowe, a man's man, brooding and quiet but intense nonetheless. It's only too easy to see why Anitha's character falls in love with him.

Jeya Seel. My God, where did she get this talent from? She wasn't near this good in "Pennin Manathai Thottu," but of course, she didn't get that much chance to emote in that one. In this one, even though her role is short, she makes us feel for her, and for the unexplored romance between her and Vikram.

The director. No, he's not all good -- Balaji Shaktivel is no Shankar, and several things in the execution are actually not explained quite well enough. But here's what he's good at: unflinchingly keeping the camera aimed at the tough stuff. In this movie, for the first time in Tamil cinema, I saw a man performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on another man, a woman performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on another woman, and a woman with her body fully burnt placed smack right in front of the camera.

The corruption in the plot. I guarantee by the end of the movie, you will come out hating Indian politicians even more. Whether it's seeing them corrupt medical bags and killing patients or asking an I.P.S. officer to go hunt deer for them to eat, the politicians are so hateable that it's pleasurable to see them kidnapped.

But then there are the bad things. I hate when heroes demand stupid things in the climactic court scenes. I hated it when Vijay demanded the abolishment of the Supreme Court in "Tamilan." I hate it now when Vikram demands something equally ridiculous.

The fight scenes. Vikram is shown doing almost superhuman things, not quite as bad as Ajit's mile-long flip in "Citizen," but still totally out of context with the movie.

Anitha. No, Anitha herself is not that bad an actress (she's actually much better here than in her debut "Varshamellaam Vasantham"); it's just that her character is quite pointless, and exists only to add songs to the movie. In a movie that's as long as "Samurai," she should have been left on the cutting room floor.

So there are good things and there are bad things. But the good things slightly outweigh the bad things, and the end result is "Samurai," a decent if not good movie.


Watch it on video or VCD, but make sure it's a high quality print.


Copyrigh 2002 Vijay Vanniarajan
Republication of this and other reviews by the same reviewer is expressly prohibited without the written consent of said reviewer.

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