THE BLOG
07/26/2014 11:23 pm ET Updated Sep 25, 2014

'Kick' (Hindi, with English subtitles)

Devi (Salman Khan) is an adrenaline junkie. He lives for the kick of things. At first, the mayhem is reasonably innocent. He's high-strung, never sitting still. He gets in fights. Mixed-martial arts kind of fights: he's a great roundhouse kicker, as well. He argues - the outcome doesn't matter - because he likes to pit himself against others. Because he's charismatic, it's almost an endearing trait. The problem is, he can't stay in one job. Incredibly educated and accomplished, he's left over 30 jobs. When he falls suddenly and cataclysmically in love with a psychiatrist, Shaina (Jacqueline Fernandez) who lives in Poland, all hell breaks loose. All that passion, all that wackiness, it drives a wedge between them. They part, and her heart is broken.

Her parents have brokered her a marriage with Himanshu (Radeep Hooda). He's an up-and-coming cop. They meet and talk. They quickly realize they have no love connection. She tells him of her time in India with Devi. As we see in flashback, it's a dashing, romantic, and, ultimately, a doomed tale. He tells her of the Devil, a criminal mastermind that he's chasing. His other successes mean nothing if he can't nail the guy. Their stories intersect in an ingenious way.

Kick, written by Raiat Arora, directed by Sajid Nadiadwala isn't just an action film with a potent kick. It's also a reminder to not question what someone does but why one does it. It sets you up thinking it's a battle between a diabolically clever criminal and a remarkably effective cop. The prize is not just all the money Devi makes off with. It's also Shaina's hand. The fight scenes, the cat and mouse games, they're all captivating in their energy and execution. We root for Himanshu, while we've come to wonder why Devi, of whom no one prior had ever said a bad word, could turn so evil. Appearances, though, are deceiving.

Khan is a formidable Devi. He's got the muscles, the brains and, as we learn, the heart of a hero. Like all junkies, he wants nothing out of life but the next rush. He sticks up for the underdog, especially, as you'll see, at the end. He takes out a band of thugs disrespecting a woman. He's fearless, engaging, and awe-inspiring. You get the sense that he holds nothing back in his characterization of the once lovable, now despised Devi.

Minus one notable quality, Hooda's Himanshu is the appropriate adversary for Khan's Devi. He's intelligent, meticulous, and relentless. Though it's not apparent at first, they both share a desire to serve and protect. The one thing that Khan's Devi has that Hooda's Himanshu doesn't is this craziness (to see where it comes from, check out his parents, played by Archana Puran Singh and Mithun Chakraborty) that propels him ever forward. Fernandez's Shaina is enchanting as the beautiful, successful career woman who mourns a lost love. Her transformation in one of the song and dance scenes from mousy, glasses-wearing psychiatrist to sumptuous sex kitten is breathtaking.

Nadiadwala fits the story with a well-adjusted adrenaline pump. The film perfectly balances the action scenes (bus chases, jumping out of skyscraper windows, battles royale) with the love scenes. The climax turns into a rainbow of discovery. We learn something about the Devil that is almost angelic.

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