There are two devils in Kick. Both have sinister smiles. One of them, as the trailer tells us, is a thief named Devil (Salman Khan). The other one is in disguise. His name is Shiv (Nawazuddin Sidddiqui), a loony, over-the-top villain whose presence adds a much-needed kick to the film’s proceedings.
Siddiqui with his gaunt physique is the man least likely to take on Khan in a brawl and emerge victorious. So it’s a relief to know that here he is the baddie with a brawn and a colourful personality who annoys the hero with his teasing talk and creepy laugh. If only Kick like Siddiqui didn’t take itself too seriously, then we would get a few kicks out of the 146-minute long running time. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
Kick may as well be a sequel to Salman Khan’s attempt to clean up his image which began earlier this year with Jai Ho. Herein, he is Devi Lal Singh, a jobless forty-something genius who can’t stick to a job simply because it’s too boring to hold on to one. Instead he prefers to get a kick out of doing things such as make a smoke bomb and a hologram device, help a couple elope, beat up eve teasers and woo Dr Shaina (Jacqueline Fernandez), who is a more gifted hip hop dancer than a psychiatrist. When all of these tasks are accomplished, he turns into a one-man Save the Sick Children Foundation. Since Devi Lal doesn’t work and therefore has no money to pay for their treatment, he is driven to grow a French beard and turn into an eye-mask wearing thief who robs from the super-rich only on festivals. How divine!
Enter cop Himanshu (Randeep Hooda, with little to do), who after cracking a code chases the robber to Poland, where our dearest doc Shaina after her break-up with Devi also happens to be. How convenient. As the uninspiring chor-police game continues at a slow pace, the entry of the twisted Shiv, about whom little background is given, gives a new lease of life to the film. But it’s too late and too little.
Four people are credited with the film’s screenplay including producer and debutant director Sajid Nadiadwala and popular author Chetan Bhagat. But they come up with little ingenious or entertaining. Instead we get references to Inspector Pandey of Dabangg, moral science lectures and half-baked caricatures including Sanjay Mishra as an inspector. The attempts to draw laughs are forced and in vain. In fact there are some random, uncharacteristically funny moments in Kick: Shaina wonders why is she called to an underground club (it’s a good question with an obvious answer: to dance Ahmed Khan’s Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez-inspired choreography) and when London’s double-decker bus is driven on the streets of Poland. We are also not sure what to make of Khan dancing comically to “Saat Samundar Paar”, which was the hit track of Divya Bharti, who incidentally was Nadiadwala’s first wife.
There are resonances of Dhoom 3 with action sequences unfolding in a foreign setting and one even culminating with a face-off between the cop and thief on a bridge. Kick drags on pulling the famous emotional manipulation-card by showing a child suffering and our hero shedding copious tears. You know it’s all going wrong when one ends up rooting for the villain, in this case Shiv, who at one point tired of the endless saga orders his bodyguards to kick the hell out of Devi Lal. But it’s obviously wishful thinking on Shiv’s part for villains are always losers. That the film concludes with signs of a sequel is not reassuring.