Chuck Russell’s Junglee is all about an action-packed adventurous movie. Of course, when there’s Vidyut Jammwal, then you know it better how the film is going to pan out. The movie is all about emotions involved between a man and a wild friend in the jungle. Vidyut plays the role of a veterinary doctor who upon returning elephant reserve encounters a pack of bad guys, some international poachers who want to get hold of the tuskers. Of course, then there’s all the fight that follows, but oh! This ain’t any fight executed by some stunt-double. It’s the man himself, Chuck Russell is so awe-struck by his dedication and hard work that he wants to offer him for more in the future. Russell wanted to incorporate the traditional martial arts in this and of course, he got a perfect guy for this. Owing to his upbringing in Kerala, Vidyut is well-trained in Kalairipayattu and that’s the reason why it was never difficult for Vidyut to take up this role.
Coming to the story, his all-around skills is seen in the first few minutes of the film. He embarks on a journey to the elephant sanctuary in Orissa where he had all his childhood memories. Now that’s another matter that the movie is basically shot in Thailand which of course presents some beautiful scenic pictures but when it comes to authenticity, thumbs down!
The beautiful cinematography by Mark Irwin (early David Cronenberg collaborator) tried hard to portray stuff in a glossy way but it was all devoid of genuine emotion and depth. The first half of the movie is still good to go for there’s this development of the plot of where the prodigal returns to the forest but, the second half is all about Vidyut’s fists and kicks! Basically, the message that is embedded everywhere is how innocent animals are harmed and threatened as a result of human greed.
Well, coming to the end it would be too much to expect any sort of subtlety or craft in such a movie. Vidyut captures the bright spot and emerges victoriously from the mess doing justice to the director known for making Jim Carrey, Dwayne Johnson a star for The Mask and The Scorpion King respectively.
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