Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

January 6, 2012

Fools gold

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 10:33 pm

January 06, 2012

Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Bobby Deol, Sonam Kapoor, Bipasha Basu, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Sikander Kher, Omi Vaidya, Vinod Khanna

Directors: Abbas-Mustan

There’s an uncomfortable truth about Abbas-Mustan’s latest film Players that few critics will admit to – it’s not all bad! This fast-paced khichdi of two previous Italian Job movies and the director duo’s own last film Race has so much going on all at once that you’re left with little time to dwell on the gaping plot holes, the laughable dialogue, and the wooden performances.

The story’s centered on a team of thieves, led by Abhishek Bachchan’s character Charlie, who successfully steal a gold consignment traveling from Russia to Romania, but are double-crossed by one of their own who makes off with the loot. As hard as it is to take seriously, the team is assembled by a retired master criminal (Vinod Khanna) who helps Charlie in this mission because – here it comes – he wants to build the country’s largest orphanage with his share of the booty.

Abbas-Mustan, who’ve successfully delivered some engaging thrillers over the years, know a thing or two about pace. Players is packed with relentless car chases and plot twists, and the directors throw in their usual stock of skimpily dressed babes and seductive item songs. What they grapple with, unfortunately, are the little details.

Sonam Kapoor’s character, we’re told, has done a thesis in ‘ethical hacking’, so she traces the world’s most notorious computer hacker with only a few clicks of the mouse. Bobby Deol is a celebrated illusionist wearing a permanent scowl because he maimed his little daughter while performing a magic trick. In one of my favorite scenes in the film, a seasoned criminal looks at photographs of a scene of crime, and deduces that a woman is behind the robbery because a flower vase that stood carelessly in a corner of the room before the crime, appears to have been placed more aesthetically in a post-theft photograph. To be fair, there’s lots of unintentional humor in the film, but that contributes to the appeal of Players.

Unlike Don 2 recently, which openly aped action scenes and the very look and feel of polished Hollywood blockbusters, Players is a distinctly Bollywood-ised remake that celebrates its corny humor, and even throws a love-triangle into a heist plot. Johnny Lever shows up as an Indian in New Zealand whose gori wife speaks only in Hindi and invites guests to attend a Satyanarayan ki pooja at their home. It’s cheesy beyond belief, but you’ll laugh.

What fails the film after all, is the over-enthusiasm of its makers, who overstay your hospitality by dragging the film on for an unforgivable 2 hours and 45 minutes. Also, harsh as this may sound, the film suffers considerably on account of its dull cast.

A stylish action thriller that involves as much posturing as Players, requires compelling actors who arrest your attention when they’re on screen. Abhishek Bachchan is earnest, and thankfully dials down his trademark smugness to play the ringleader of the team. Bobby Deol and Sikander Kher have no screen presence, but Neil Nitin Mukesh gets some interesting scenes to sink his teeth into. Bipasha Basu fills out a bikini nicely, but poor Sonam Kapoor changes her costumes and her hairstyle more frequently than her expressions. Together this team has the appeal of a pack of drained batteries.

I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five for Abbas-Mustan’s Players. What could have been a satisfying entertainer doesn’t quite achieve its potential.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. how many of u guyz are sly paid by SRK.All i see is protest against don2,,,,,,,,,,,,btw both of them sucked.

    Comment by jpm — January 8, 2012 @ 3:43 am

  2. sir can u answer that people are asking abt don 2 n players??if u r good critics then u wil…

    Comment by riya roy — January 8, 2012 @ 7:31 am

  3. correct review.. There was nothing in don2 as far as the plot concerned but players though fails at several point keep the viewer interested of what next. The illusionist Boby is ok for me..Those who disagree to masand’s reviews are cheap ‘star fans’.

    Comment by Ajber Rahman — January 8, 2012 @ 8:57 am

  4. Rajeev you have lost it completly.. Not an SRK fan though..but really felt you are part of anti-srk group after reading your review of Don 2.. i serioudly doubted whether you really watched the same movie that i did.. and to top it with 2.5 star rating for players.. i seriously have second thoughts on your credibility now.. as some people said you gave it 2.5 cause its a network18 production

    Comment by Bond — January 8, 2012 @ 9:56 pm

  5. http://reviewforfilmmakers.blogspot.com/

    This is about only those things which as a viewer I didn’t like..
    When the bad guys already got accepted as protagonists in Indian films, there was no need of showing the humane side of the players.. in fact the most inhumane player – Neil Nitin Mukesh impressed the most.

    Yes it is true, not only recently but since 70’ and 80’ whenever our hero goes out for a theft, we love it. Kohinoor, Jewel Thief, Don2, Roop Ki Raani.. etc etc.. Accepted that hero always brings in some reason to steal but the trend is changing !! You can change too..

    So there is the quick NOT-TO-DO check list for Abbas-Mustan’s Players.

    1. Remove good motives of Robbery i.e. Victor’s dream project, Ronny’s daughter.. make everything emotionless, professional. Though Sonam’s reason to join for Victor’s death was justified.

    2. Take actors which can act. For star power, couple of them are ok. like rather than investing in Abhishek, Sonam, Bobby, Neil and Bipasha, pay more to 2 stars and 3 actors.. because among the 5 only Niel and Bipasha acted.

    3. Bipasha’s Engine work and Bobby’s illusion on train windows were something too too much of science fiction to digest. Agreed that Indian audience is watching science fiction and gradually accepting such techno gigs but at the same time people have started applying logics also, the flags on the windows were clearly showing not spraying the solutions on the entire window.

    4. Reduce songs and reduce the length of the movie. Sonam’s gig on Bobby, Bipasha’s dance for Russian general and Sonam-Abhishek drunken songs were too too too tiring and waste of time. Instead sonam and bipasha could have used smart lines to get their men. I like the talking people do the night clubs.

    5. Instead of simply showing Sonam’s tense face while hacking scenes, more theoretical information about how it is possible to find Spider would be better.

    6. And last but not the least, you made the robbery seems pretty easy. People watch Mission Impossible franchise in India now. If not making the mission impossible, at least make it difficult.

    Note: The objective of this blog is to pick only loop holes and not so great things about the movie and NOT TO review the entire movie. General ratings from different critics holds true about the movie.

    Comment by abhishek — January 9, 2012 @ 10:16 am

  6. I have never seen him giving any movie more than 3.5 stars ever since I’m reading his reviews and that’s quite a while. So consider ‘players’ lucky to have got 2.5 stars.

    Comment by Manisha — January 9, 2012 @ 10:36 am

  7. What has happened to you Mr. Masand??
    I used to be a fan of ur reviews, but u r making me lose faith in them by such reviews!!
    A 2.5 for this laughable movie, and 2 for a terrific action flick like DON 2???
    for ur kind information,
    On IMDB, Don 2 is rated 7.5, while Players stands at 5.0!!
    On Rotten Tomatoes, Don 2 has 73% liking, Players has 20%!!!
    Better stop being biased, or u will start falling into the category of Tran Adarsh!!

    Comment by Shubh — January 9, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

  8. this is purely a biased review. Rajiv sir u seriously need to unwind and see the movies with a fresh approach or just ‘common sense’!

    Comment by justyn — January 9, 2012 @ 7:43 pm

  9. 2stars are enough..

    Comment by rraoul — January 10, 2012 @ 12:04 am

  10. Sorry Rajeev, I enjoy your reviews but lately your reviews as bad as it could be… Rockstar was a bad movie… Players is a terrible terrible movie… DON 2 was way better…. Come on Rajeev… you can do better than this?… you aren’t like timesofindia movie reviewer…

    Comment by Imran — January 10, 2012 @ 1:02 am

  11. Are you sure You watched the Movie? you gave 2.5 for this Crap and 2 Don2 WTF!

    Comment by Anirudh — January 10, 2012 @ 10:48 am

  12. I remember Rajeev rated DON(SRK’s DON 1) 1/5.I dont y this mistreatment towars Don series:(

    Comment by Don — January 10, 2012 @ 11:25 am

  13. One thing i will never understand… when Abhishek’s film does well, then people start saying the credit is to the director and the story, its not Abhishek’s credit at all… But when the film doesn’t do well, no matter how many cast members there are, no matter how bad direction or screenplay is… Its always Abhishek’s fault… Why is that? its because people just LOVE TO HATE HIM… its his surname that is the major issue with most people… If any film or project is a failure, its because of everyone involved and not just one person…

    Comment by Aliza — January 10, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

  14. Acting is what I was searching through the movie..

    Bipasa is horribly fake as usual.
    Abhisek was less than convincing.
    Sonam needs to attend an acting school for basics.
    Neil a lead villain tries hard to look like one.

    And Victor Dada… Giving lessons to police officers on art of dirty work did not look like a one time super don. He needed to have more style and confidence.

    A fine plot, ok ok screen play is completely done away due to mediocre on screen performance.

    Comment by Amit — January 13, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

  15. saw players..today found it good…neil nitin mukesh and abhishk bacchan ws good..bipasha basu ws really good..wht i cn say player s made fr massess ,its an indian masala flick bt don2 s excptnly well made .if u see quality wise don2 is way better….and players s desi masala flick bt entertaining!!!!!

    Comment by kaustav banerjee — January 13, 2012 @ 11:49 pm

  16. I have been agree with Masand’s reviews most of the times but not with the Don2. I rate Don2… 3.5 stars as movie is really nice, fast and full of excellent performances by it’s star cast. I don’t understand why a comparison always arises between hollywood and bollywood movies.

    Comment by Rohit — January 14, 2012 @ 12:45 pm

  17. why do you overrate abbas mastan movies .this movie doesnt even deserve 2 stars .i cant understand why do you rate movies like kartik calling kartik 2 which desereve at least 3 to 4 and a silly senseless idiotic movie like players 2.5

    Comment by rohp — January 17, 2012 @ 7:54 pm

  18. rajeev masand u’v got some serious issues 4 sure….u rated don 2 only 2 stars…and u gave this players shit 2.5 stars…hav u completely lost ur mind

    Comment by Soumya — January 23, 2012 @ 2:56 pm

  19. Fair review….I liked Player n Abhishek B….Bips is hot..

    Comment by Pawan — January 28, 2012 @ 1:30 pm

  20. I am totally shocked!!!! I was not at all going to watch players… but finally after so much time because I was bored with all, i had to watch Players for a change! Now first thing i have watched the italian job so many time & i definitely knew this ain’t gonna work! Now coming to the point the two main flaws in the movie where first the script which is so badly written where writers were trying to introduce some twist with the original & the second one was action! The car chase sequence at the climax was so useless & absurd! & the ending! car made of gold!!!! how can u fool your viewers so much!!!!

    Coming to your mention of don 2 in the review! no doubt don2 was not a perfect film but the action was slick & it has some genuine script to rely upon! u gave don 2, 1 star & players 2.5!!!!! how can u be so biased!!!! totally disappointed on this… You were the only critic i always look for the ratings & you have gone totally wrong on this… hope u dont make the mistake again!!!!

    Comment by Gaurav Rathod — February 24, 2012 @ 7:06 am

  21. Even one and a half stars would have been generous for Players. Reminded me of those B-rated spy movies that Mithun used to do in the 80s (which were better than this). The acting is horrible, the script writers were probably smoking weed, and the plot has more holes than swiss cheese. And if I were a Russian, I would have sued Abbas Mastan.

    Comment by Aditya — March 11, 2012 @ 11:54 am

  22. You must be kidding or totally loco. This crap gets 2.5 and agent Vinod gets 2 and kahaani gets 3.5. Is there no sense of scale or did you recalibrate your scale.

    Comment by Dev — April 1, 2012 @ 4:23 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress