Starring Saif Ali Khan, Bipasha Basu, and Akshaye Khanna. In Hindi with English subtitles.
Race is Bollywood masala (commercial) film at its worst, a concoction of disjointed scenes dressed up as eye candy in the form of pretty boys and beauties in an absurd story that wouldn’t even hold up in a fantasy world, let alone the real world it supposedly portrays.
It’s a rip-off of bad Hollywood thrillers and ineptly directed by self-styled thriller meisters Abbas and Mastan Alibhai Burmawalla, Bollywood’s (inferior) Coen brothers.
This Durban, South Africa–set story pits two wealthy stepbrothers against each other, one (Akshaye Khanna) evil and the other (Saif Ali Khan) slightly less evil, only because he kills those who deserve it. The stepbrothers are each bent on killing the other for $50 million in insurance money. How this insurance money suddenly becomes $200 million is never explained.
The film’s unbelievable turns really test viewers’ patience, with everyone double-crossing each other before the movie comes to an excruciating halt with cars blowing up for no reason. The directors, having watched enough of Hollywood, must have thought the explosions were the real stars of the film. The studio needed those eye-catching trailer images to sell this clunker.
Race isn’t particularly kind to its actors, including aging star Anil Kapoor. Khan, who looks great, is the only one who does an adequate job, with his quiet-cool performance as Ranvir Singh, the horse-ranch owner who is also a high-stakes gambler.
For a big-budget action flick, Race has substandard production values, including some bad songs that really don’t jell with the dance numbers.