Puneeth Rajkumar's James movie review: An absolute action adieu
All in all, James definitely is a worthy tribute to the Power Star, and when the final credits roll, and we see Puneeth give us his much-loved smile, it brings a tear to our eyes
It is said that all sorrows can be accepted if you put them into a story or tell a story about them. In a certain way, James tells the story of Appu, who won the hearts of fans not just in Sandalwood but beyond too. James will always have a profound place for the lingering sadness in the minds of many because this is the last time we would see the talented young actor on the silver screen.
Cast: Puneeth Rajkumar, Priya Anand, Rangayana Raghu, Srikant Meka, Sarathkumar, Anu Prabhakar, Chikkanna, Tilak, Harish, and Shine Shetty
Director: Chethan Kumar
Rating: 3.5 / 5
James features the late Puneeth Rajkumar as the quintessential hero, a courageous saviour, a patriot, and a romantic. These are characters that Appu has showcased many times in his previous films, and seeing it all come together in a single film would be the stuff of dreams for his fans and the Kannada audience. The importance of the film gains more prominence when viewed from the perspective that he is no more around. It is quite the emotional ride for the fans who get to see their matinee idol provide them with one final treat with a commercial outing.
The film begins with a title song, and syndicates from different parts of the world running illegal businesses are introduced. Santhosh (Puneeth Rajkumar) runs a security agency and takes up an assignment of providing security to top businessman Vijay Gayakwad (Srikanth Meka) and his family. He takes Gayakwad into confidence and the businessman even treats Santhosh as family. However, the twist comes when Santhosh's true identity is revealed. What is his purpose? What is the intention behind the title James? Why did a soldier quit his job to run a security agency? The answers to these questions make up the second half that ends up becoming a revenge drama.
While the first half breezes through with action and a dash of humour, the real challenge for director Chethan Kumar lies in the second half, but he cleverly manages to fill all gaps. Puneeth, who makes his presence felt in every scene, has a stylish mass avatar and has pulled off some gripping high-adrenaline-action sequences. Although Shivarajkumar's voice for him initially seems uncomfortable, it does grow on us. Chethan has also managed to bring all three brothers in one film, with Shivarajkumar and Raghavendra Rajkumar appearing in significant cameo roles.
James is lavish and comes with rich production qualities, but one drawback is the cliched plot of the drug mafia. Also, there are too many villains in the film, all played by well-known actors like Sarathkumar, Srikanth Meka, Adithya, Mukesh Rishi, Madhusudan Rao, and the list goes on. The importance of the heroine, Priya Anand, is felt in the climax. Anu Prabhakar has a very short but sweet presence. Rangayana Raghu shares a good screen space along with Puneeth, and good support comes from an ensemble cast -- Tilak, Harisha, Shine Shetty, Chikanna, Nayana, Samiksha, and Kavya Shastry among others. The film also sees a cameo appearance by Chandan Shetty, Rachita Ram, Ashika Ranganath, and Sreeleela in the introduction song.
Apart from direction, Chethan has also written screenplay, dialogues, and lyrics, dialogues, and lyrics, penning some punch lines delivered by the actor. Charan Raj, who did not have an opportunity to tune in too many songs, has come up with a couple of good melodies, and an interesting background score. J Swamy had a hectic job capturing the right emotions in the drama, and his work in the film is definitely worthy of applause. Credit should also go to stunt masters -- brothers Ram Laxman, Ravi Varma,Vijay, Arjun and Chethan D Souza, who have chalked out enough high-octane-action sequences with the Power Star.
All in all, James definitely is a worthy tribute to the Power Star, and when the final credits roll, and we see Puneeth give us his much-loved smile, it brings a tear to our eyes. Farewell, Appu... you will always be missed.