‘Fight Club’ Tamil movie review: This Vijay Kumar-starrer is all style and very little substance

A still from ‘Fight Club’
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Unfortunately, it’s time to break the very first rule of Fight Club.

Vijay Kumar, the actor-filmmaker who wowed Tamil cinephiles with the Uriyadi films, is back. Such a resurgence deserves a mass introduction scene, and in his latest film, the aptly-titled Fight Club, he’s presented alongside Thala and Thalapathy. No, Ajith and Vijay aren’t in any way connected to this film, but in the introduction shot, Selva (Vijay Kumar), wearing a ‘Thala’ Dhoni CSK tee, commandeers a gang to a run-down theatre that’s playing the Mani Ratnam-Rajinikanth film Thalapathi. It’s a scene befitting a star in the stature of those mentioned above, but Vijay Kumar, with his intense eyes and chiselled abs, sells that scene. If the film’s title isn’t a clue already, it’s the fight sequences where the film is in its element, but it also leaves you wishing the rest of the narrative gave the same feel.

A talented young player who looks up to a brotherly figure loses his path and his game when those around him kill that mentor, and it’s not until the very end that the player realises that he has been played; manipulated to be a part of a nasty game of revenge. That’s Fight Club in a one-liner, and if this plot reminds you of Vada Chennai, you aren’t particularly wrong either. It also happens to be the reason why the film gives a been-there-seen-that vibe, which the makers try to overcome with their non-linear narrative.

Such a narrative style comes as both boon and bane to Fight Club. For starters, we’re bombarded with sub-plots and information right off the bat and it takes a while for us to settle down mentally and get a grasp of what’s happening. The fact that the cast is predominantly filled with new, unfamiliar faces initially makes it tougher to keep track of the unfolding events. But once the dust settles and we get a hang of the characters and their motives, it gets better… only for it to enter predictable territory.

Fight Club (Tamil)

Director: Abbas A. Rahmath

Cast: Vijay Kumar, Monisha Mohan Menon, Kaarthekeyen Santhanam, Avinash Raghudevan, Shankar Thas

Runtime: 138 minutes

Storyline: An angry young man is manipulated to become a mere pawn in a game involving power, politics, and payback

The film’s biggest strength is its technical prowess and right after that, it’s the performances. Vijay Kumar embodies the angry young man persona and he’s fantastic in the action sequences, but the film doesn’t offer any lingering moments during the emotional scenes for his character to be fleshed out; this results in us not being concerned about the setbacks he suffers. It’s actually the supporting cast, featuring actors like Avinash Raghudevan, Shankar Thas and Kaarthekeyen Santhanam, who steal the show with their performances.

Vijay Kumar turned heads with his debut film Uriyadi and the pre-interval fight sequences will always find a place in Tamil film folklore. The action in Fight Club feels like an extension of that sequence as not only are they raw and gritty, but also realistic and innate enough to win the hearts of genre lovers. The final showdown featuring a preposterous level of gory violence feels like the makers pushing the envelope with their film’s adult certification, but the earlier fight sequences, which are painfully constructed to be unique, prepare you for it.

A still from ‘Fight Club’

A still from ‘Fight Club’
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

The true heroes of Fight Club are the technicians behind the camera; cinematographer Leon Britto’s impeccable shots, Kripakaran’s fantastic editing and to round them all up, Govind Vasantha’s score make the film one of the technically strongest outings we’ve seen in recent times. Unfortunately, the wafer-thin plot and predictable ending turn out to be spoilsports. There’s a token female lead (Monisha Mohan Menon) whose character adds nothing to the story apart from leaving us to wonder why her portions, despite being set in North Chennai like the rest of the film, look like Kerala. Probably because she plays a Malayali? But that’s the least of Fight Club’s worries.

The film tries to chronicle the struggling lives of those with big dreams but ends up playing to the North Madras stereotypes Tamil cinema has constantly fed us for a while now. Before you finish hoping that the film finds its true potential, we get Selva with brass knuckles smashing the final nail deep.

Fight Club doesn’t offer much if you’re looking for an intriguing tale of a simple man stuck in a complex situation, but the film is definitely an imperative addition to the exclusive list of projects that break the norms and rules of the action genre in Tamil cinema.

Fight Club is currently running in theatres

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *