Jailer Movie Review: Let me say this upfront, I enjoyed Jailer more than Rajinikanth's last couple of films. I also enjoyed Jailer more than Nelson's last film, Beast. It isn't as cleverly innovative as Kolamavu Kokila or Doctor, which still remain Nelson's better works. Still, Jailer is a superstar vehicle that is mostly done right, without going too far overboard when it comes to celebrating that superstar. And Rajinikanth, despite playing his age, defies all doubts about whether his superstardom is waning. The film may call him a "dinosaur," but his T-Rex roar reverberates through the theater loud and clear. Thalaivar is in no mood to vacate his throne! Jailer: Superstar Rajinikanth’s Fans Dance Outside Theatres in Chennai To Celebrate the Release of His Action-Entertainer.

Rajinikanth plays Muthuvel Pandian, a retired cop who lives a simple, meek life with his family, buying vegetables from the market and shooting vlogs for his grandson. His son Arjun (Vasanth Ravi) is also a cop, and he is just as honest and dedicated as his father used to be. However, this honesty comes at a major cost when he goes missing while investigating a smuggling ring involving stolen temple artifacts.

Muthuvel presumes that his son has been killed, and he goes after the suspects, which include the hyper-violent Malayali ganglord Varma (Vinayakan). Varma and his men underestimate Muthuvel, thinking that he is just an old man trying to seek vengeance. However, they soon learn that Muthuvel is not someone to be trifled with, and his legacy as the titular "Jailer" comes calling before the man himself.

Watch the Trailer of Jailer here:

The first half of Jailer sets up the protagonist as this ordinary family man, but it doesn't take long to pull the rug out from under us. Nelson establishes Muthuvel as someone who does not shy away from meting out the bloodiest retribution necessary in his mission of vengeance, although it also hints that Muthuvel himself may have some hidden psychopathic tendencies that the film doesn't bother to explore.

Rajinikanth in Jailer

The violence in Jailer is gruesome, from heads being hammered or beheaded to people being killed in vats of acid. Considering that Jailer is a film aimed at family audiences who bring their children, it is strange that such scenes were allowed to escape a harsher rating. The ways of Indian censorship are indeed strange. Jailer: Couple from Japan Travel to Chennai to Watch Rajinikanth’s Film.

Nevertheless, there is Rajinikanth and his star power to carry you through any problems you may have with the film. Nelson does a fantastic job of presenting the superstar in an unassailable position, while still respecting the actor's age and the character he is playing. As a result, the action is more mindful of a man in his post-retirement years, where the build-up is enough to make a statement, rather than seeing the hero unconvincingly punch ten goons in the air.

Rajinikanth in Jailer

Nelson also brings his trademark comic elements and favorite actors like Yogi Babu, VTV Ganesh, and more into the mix. The comedy is a mixed bag; there are scenes and dialogues that are clever and funny, even when they fawn over the lead star, such as a goon dancing to Jeans' "Kannodu Kanbathellam" and pausing to revere Muthuvel when he hears the word "Thalaiva" in the song. I laughed out loud. However, the humor doesn't always land, such as the portions at the psychiatric hospital involving VTV Ganesh, who was quite the scene-stealer in Beast but is rather ho-hum here. Nelson's screenplay also feels lacking in places, where it hides behind Rajinikanth's star power in the hope that we won't notice the lags or some very presumptuous and convenient writing patches.

Vinayakan in Jailer

That said and done, Jailer's first half does a decent enough job of setting up the clash between Muthuvel and Varma. Oh, I forgot to mention that Shiva Rajkumar has a quite enjoyable cameo in here as well. Anirudh's score is also a strong point of Jailer.

After a bloody pre-interval sequence, the second half of Jailer starts with a bang, with a brief flashback revealing why Muthuvel is the real deal (the makeup is fantastic). Friends, expect "Tiger Ka Hukum" to be the next popular Rajini catchphrase in the coming days. After a twist, the movie enters heist territory. Beast Movie Review: Thalapathy Vijay Is in Absolutely Fine Knick in Nelson’s Hostage Thriller That Refuses To Take Itself Seriously.

There is a subplot involving a film shoot with Sunil, Tamannaah, and Nelson favorites Sunil Reddy and Redin Kingsley that is crucial to the heist plot. However, the comedy does not always land and could have been trimmed to save the runtime (which is a major problem for Jailer). The way the heist is carried out itself deserves a more intelligent writing and feels like a very half-hearted attempt to pull off an Italian Job.

Tamannaah in Jailer

The Malayali in me was also happy to see Mohanlal in another of Jailer's star cameos, although it doesn't really add much to the plot except to attract more audiences in Kerala. The superstar seems to be enjoying the role, although his dressing style raises some questions. Did he just run off in the middle of the Kochi carnival while dancing to "Chettikulangara Bharani Naalil"? Any Chotta Mumbai fans out there? Knock knock...

The third act of Jailer is an improvement. Nelson still hides a couple of surprises that work well, even if one of the surprises leads to a standout scene that reminded me of a certain Kamal Haasan hit from the 1990s. I won't spoil it for you, but this is where Nelson cunningly utilises Rajinikanth's aura. I wish the writing in the previous scenes were better, as it would have made the hero versus villain(s) face-off even better. But you can't help but clap when Rajinikanth flicks a cigar to his lips. After all, isn't that what we're here for?

After two ordinary films like Annaaththe and Darbar, Rajinikanth is truly back in form with Jailer. The enigmatic superstar is clearly cherishing the role, and I had fun watching him revel in the part. Vinayakan is perfect as the cruel villain, his histrionics saving the day for what is a very two-dimensional character. Shiva Rajkumar and Mohanlal are there for fan service, although I liked how the film uses the Kannada superstar's piercing eyes. Vasanth Ravi is just about okay. The rest of the supporting cast, Yogi Babu included, are their usual selves.

Mohanlal in Jailer

The women in the film are dealt a very poor hand. Ramya Krishnan and Mirnaa Menon's characters are subjected to unnecessary trauma by the men in their household, and this is treated as a comic matter. Apart from the sexy "Kaavalaya" song, I wonder what else attracted Tamannaah to what is clearly a thankless role for her caliber. The scene where she explains to her friend why she is with a particular person has the actress give such a lacklustre performance that I wonder whether she had her heart in the part. Jackie Shroff is also wasted, and he deserves better.

Final Thoughts

Jailer feels like an improvement over Beast, although it lacks the ingenious writing and treatment of Nelson's first two films (don't our superstars deserve smarter writing?). There are some slow-moving sections, writing that doesn't always have the desired impact, and humor that doesn't always land. However, Jailer, despite its flaws, still has some strengths that work in its favor, such as how Nelson uses Rajinikanth's star power and how Thalaiva effortlessly performs his role with the confidence of a superstar who knows his audience.


(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Aug 10, 2023 01:10 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).