Captain movie review: By now, any self-respecting movie buff knows what to expect from a Shakti Soundar Rajan movie. The director has made a career of defying the Hollywood genre, one film at a time. So, after his attempts at making a heist movie, a pet comedy, a zombie thriller, a sci-fi thriller, and a buddy fantasy comedy, the filmmaker pursues the creature genre with Captain. The sources for him this time are Predator and movies of his type, including the sequels, Doom and Riddick.
But the problem this time around is that the movie actually feels like something shot with a basic plot outline rather than a full script. Captain Vetri Selvan, for whom his team is family, is tasked with venturing into an unoccupied forest area and uncovering the mystery behind the unexplained deaths of the previous teams that had gone on reconnaissance to the area. Will he be able to succeed in this dangerous mission?
Even if his films are spin-offs, so far Shakti Soundar Rajan managed to provide us with a core relationship that served as an emotional hook to keep us involved in the proceedings. But here, all we have are single-note characters and a smooth setup that includes a lukewarm stab to build a romantic track. These portions are so superficial (introducing the protagonist and his world, having a song to show the camaraderie between the hero and his team, introducing the conflict, adding an obligatory romance) that they hardly do anything for us. Even the parts involving the creature, which the film depicts as a minotaur, are sketchy. Some scientific nonsense, like radio biosignals and a bit of ecological messaging. Everything is so uninteresting that we hardly care about the survival of the characters. We get a dubious scientist character, played by Simran, and the director resorts to an archaic idea: an ambitious woman who agrees to sleep with someone to succeed in her goal, to establish this character.
But since the writing hardly gives them anything to play with, all the actors act clueless. Seriously aside, Arya barely shows any emotion, and it’s hard to believe that he’s the same actor we’ve seen in Sarpatta Parambarai. Despite the gray tones of his character, Simran also appears as a cardboard cutout. The less said about Aishwarya Lekshmi’s character the better as all it does is make us wonder how the actress, who collects very interesting films in Malayalam, gave her approval for this role!
Even the creature, the only reason to watch the movie, is underwhelming. He looks like a cheap imitation of the Predator in appearance, and does things an unintelligent villain does, including not killing his biggest threat, the hero, when he gets the chance. The same can be said for the film, too: an underwhelming, underwhelming action flick.