The production of this movie has hit a major snag: its leading lady has been kidnapped. She is Siya (Shraddha Kapoor), and was headlining her first film in partnership with her roguish, producer father (Sunil Grover) who now has to face a failed project that could have made him a lot of money, not least because his daughter was learning action fight skills that could have come in handy if it had prompted sequels. There's only one thing he can do, call in the one man he knows has even more accomplished combat abilities, her ex-boyfriend Ronny (Tiger Shroff) - he can travel to Bangkok and rescue her from the clutches of expert martial artist Raghav (Sudheer Babu Posani). Can't he?
Ronny looks sick to the stomach at the mere mention of Siya, but agrees to go along with this scheme since Raghav is a genuine villain and he has no wish to see him succeed, and besides, does he not carry a torch for his ex? Or if not a torch, a cigarette lighter anyway. Baaghi, meaning Rebel in English, was a Bollywood effort designed to consolidate the newfound stardom of Shroff, joining the family business to headline movies after his hit debut Heropanti a couple of years before. We were told he did not immediately follow up that popular work because he was waiting for the right script to come along, though on this evidence he was spending this time working out and watching movies.
There was no doubting his dedication to his craft, his physique at this point akin to a bronzed deity such was his musclebound figure, and when the combat setpieces arrived he was very adept indeed, even handling a number of stunts himself. The main issue with that was that they were not strictly his stunts, and not strictly his fights either, as director Sabir Khan had obviously been studying what the action genre was doing in other countries and cheekily lifted what he could from them to piece together this jigsaw-like assembly of memorable moments from whatever had caught his eye. If you had no problems with that, you would likely have a fine old time with Baaghi, if you did, stay well away.
It was true this was rip-off city, but the fact remained the stunts and moves were nevertheless very accomplished in isolation, and demonstrated how a lot of hard work went into even the most derivative of action flicks when they were burnished to such a high gloss. Certainly with the borrowings taken from some very high profile productions - spot the foot chase from Ong Bak here, the tournament from Kickboxer there, even the shooting the wife bit from Taken - the most blatant acquisition was in the last twenty minutes as this restaged the entirety of Gareth Evans' minor sensation The Raid in a handy, compact form, to the extent of recreating many of the same moves. The difference here was that it was not purely one man against a hundred, for Siya got involved as well, which was refreshing.
But still, you know, not going to eclipse the Iko Uwais movie because it had got there first and this was doggedly imitating it, never mind Dredd, have a look at Baaghi for a copycat concept. Yet naturally, this being a Bollywood picture, there was so much more to it, as Shroff and Kapoor got to act out a typical will they-won't they romance complete with the occasional song to pledge their love to one another, though noticeably fewer than in so many predecessors, as if, as in some contemporaries the Indian business was moving on from packing so many numbers in almost every movie, yet did not want to alienate the older members of their loyal audience. There was comedy, too, as Siya's father gets up to all sorts of con tricks (turning serious as the plot progressed), and we were served up a blind taxi driver whose brother-in-law guides him around the streets of Bangkok in the passenger seat. Not boring then, even at two and a quarter hours there was always something happening, though granted you might have seen that before too. Music by Julius Packiam.