Jailer Movie Review: Tiger Muthuvel Pandiyan (Rajinikanth), a retired jailer, is a family man now. He spends his days making YouTube videos with his grandson, shopping for vegetables at the local market, and taking part in routine household chores. Muthuvel’s son (Vasanth Ravi), a police officer, goes missing while on a mission to nab a gang of idol thieves. When the news of his death is delivered, Muthuvel’s wife (Ramya Krishnan) pins the blame on his honest upbringing for this mess. Heartbroken, Muthuvel, ventures out to avenge his son’s death.
The 2-hour-40-minute-long film takes time to establish itself. It takes over 40 minutes to pick up pace. Unlike every Rajnikanth movie, which thrives on a mass introduction scene, this one doesn’t give that cathartic experience. This is where it becomes a Nelson movie. But, the interval block and the mass scenes in the second half make up for it. Director Nelson, whose last big screen outing was Beast, is back with his signature style of filmmaking – packed with subtle, dark comedy in the first half. In fact, it is Yogi Babu and Rajinikanth’s fun banter that saves the first half. Second half takes off well with several mass scenes, especially when the story goes back in time to show a glimpse of Muthuvel’s past, but quickly loses steam and ends up leading towards a dragged, albeit a bit boring and a disappointing climax.
The film, like several Rajinikanth movies in the past, lacks logic. The dark comedy works well in the original language (Tamil) and for those who are familiar with Nelson’s previous films. But since it is not everyone’s cup of tea, the jokes may get lost in translation in other languages (the film has been released in 5 languages).
Cameos by stars like Shivarajkumar, Mohanlal, Jackie Shroff, Tamannaah Bhatia, Sunil and Kishore add to the star value. Watch out for the climax that features Shivarajkumar and Mohanlal for the much required drama and energy.
Rajnikanth is not a hero anymore; he is a superstar and this film shows him exactly as that. Fans get to see plenty of whistle-worthy Rajini-ism and nothing more. The father-son bond, which is essentially the heart of the story, is merely touched upon and leaves it to the audience to assume that the father and son are very close. There isn’t a single emotional moment between the two. It is disappointing to see a talent like Ramya Krishnan with nothing much to say or emote in the film. Vasanth Ravi has one single expression throughout the film. Vinayakan puts up an impressive show with his bloodshot eyes. Composer Anirudh Ravichander’s background music elevates the film; the songs however, border on average.
In the 1999 film Padayappa, after an intense display of power play, Neelambari aka Ramya Krishnan tells Rajini, “Vayasanalum un style’um azhagum unna vittu pogala” (Even though you have aged, your style and charm has not left you). Twenty four years later, we can still safely say the same about Rajini in Jailer. But, that may not be enough to save this film.