It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
From the beginning, the "Dhoom" films have invited comparison to the "Fast & Furious" franchise, with John Abraham's charismatic villain/antihero in the first giving way to Hrithik Roshan's even more charismatic variation in the hugely successful sequel. One feature unique to the "Dhoom" series, though, most decidedly continued in the third and latest installment, is the ostensible heroes—tough cop Jai Dixit (Abhishek Bachchan), and his crook-turned-cop partner Ali Akbar (Uday Chopra)—being mentioned secondarily, if at all. In the first film, John Abraham was simply more interesting than they were, but over time, the series has evolved consciously into an exploration—between action sequences and songs—of the antihero as an archetype, with bigger and bigger stars cast. In "Dhoom: 2," it was Hrithik Roshan, and now, in "Dhoom: 3," no less a worthy than Aamir Khan.
Movie stars were originally called stars for the bright, glittery aspects of the heavenly bodies in question, but there's another quality that true stars, especially those of Aamir Khan's caliber possess, which is gravitational pull. "Dhoom: 3" doesn't attempt to resist this force in any way, with only the bare minimum of pretense that the "Dhoom" movies are Abhishek Bachchan/Uday Chopra buddy comedies anymore, putting the focus squarely on the story of Sahir Khan (played as a child by Siddharth Nigam and as an adult by Aamir Khan), a circus performer seeking revenge against Anderson (Andrew Bricknell), the cruel banker who ruined his father's life's work for no good reason.
Once Sahir reaches adulthood, he begins to systematically target branches of Anderson's bank, each time causing hundred dollar bills to rain from the sky, and escape using an array of skills, from sleight-of-hand to motorcycle racing. At each robbery, Sahir leaves a message in Hindi and a clown mask, which leads the Chicago police to bring in Jai and Ali so Jai can frown at things and Ali can flirt embarrassingly with the flower of Chicagoan womanhood. Jai initiates a game of cat-and-mouse with the master thief, thinking that his ego will lead him into a mistake out of pique, but Sahir effortlessly turns the tables on the police, turning them into unwitting allies.
The moment at which Jai realizes he's been had immediately precedes a game-changing (to put it mildly) twist, which shouldn't be spoiled. The second half of "Dhoom: 3" features a surprisingly adroit, if not terribly subtle, interrogation into the the morality of operating outside the law for a good cause. The movie stacks the deck a bit by having the banker be such a loathsome (and implicitly racist) bastard, but Aamir Khan and Abhishek Bachchan do a compelling job exploring the various moral and ethical colors involved in the cops-and-robbers game. Khan brings out the best in Bachchan as an actor, with his performance in "Dhoom: 3" finally shorn of the awkwardness and dullness into which his work in the first two movies all too often regressed. This, again, is a testament to the control Khan exerts over the movie: never heavy-handed, but absolute.
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