Everything points at a fun, engaging action-thriller on paper, but the end result is quite the opposite.
Debutant Vinoth Kumar’s Laththi has a hero-elevation line said by a bad guy that goes: “Avan namba kita maatala da, namba dhaan avan kita maati irukom!” We have heard this a thousand times already, but here, the dialogue isn’t so out of place because the story is of Muruganandham (Vishal), a lone policeman who takes on an army of goons. While Kaththi’s Kathiresan used the help of a friend and a few coins to face 50 men, Muruganandham takes the game a level higher by increasing the body count to over 100, all alone. What’s his weapon though? The entire building, it seems.
Cast: Vishal, Sunainaa, Ramana, Sunny PN, Lirish Raghav, Prabhu
Director: Vinoth Kumar
The protagonist hides his weapons in several locations in the building and they range from an iron baseball bat, hand grenade to a water sprinkler-controlled machine gun! Oh, there is a catch. Muruganandham’s sick son is also stuck in the same building and the hero has to ensure the latter’s safety. Everything points at a fun, engaging action-thriller on paper, but the end result is quite the opposite.
The bad men in the film are a problem. While Sunny PN’s Sura is a maniac who stops his traitor from getting electrocuted only to kill him with a less painful gunshot, Ramana’s Vellai, is a whole new level of bizarre He wears a yellow polythene bag on his face for a major part of the film, as a reminder to avenge the hero. Laththi is a treasure trove for such unintentionally funny content.
During one of the initial scenes, Sura asks his allies to list the crimes committed by his son. For some strange reason, the goons start performing a clumsy mime in an attempt to recreate the crimes, without just listing them out. Many such ‘innovative’ ideas come across as silly humour.
Laththi relies on its lead actort o do much of the heavy-lifting. However, Vishal falls terribly short despite showing effort–especially his Moondram Pirai-esque act in the climax that only ends up highlighting his limitations as a performer. Sunainaa is probably the only actor who doesn’t give in to the over-the-top tone of the film. She delivers a sensible performance as a doting mother and wife.
Right from the title announcement, it was clear that the film would be about a laththi-happy policeman, and the protagonist tries to do justice to the title by charging at way too many people on screen. But the film doesn’t take a clear stand on police brutality. Though there are stretches where Muruganandham dreads executing custodial violence, and mouths preachy dialogues like, “Kandika dhaan na adikanum, dhandika illa!” you also learn that he has always enjoyed beating the criminals to a pulp.
The much-hyped fight sequences of this film feel heavily rushed and the exciting weapon-reveal sequence too is force-fit into a background song. Though Laththi tries hard to be an edge-of-the-seat thriller, it’s not a good sign that you’re laughing for most of it.
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