Thalainagaram 2 Movie Review: Inferior second-half derails this almost there actioner
Sundar C is one of the fortunate actors to debut in a hit film. His Thalainagaram, which is famous for its riotous comedy sequences starring Vadivelu as Naai Sekar, is equally well-known for its interesting take on the underworld. It also gave Sundar C a chance to redefine his image as a bankable actor in the industry which saw him as a comedy film director then. Four years later, he attempted to recreate the magic of his debut with Nagaram, an unofficial spiritual sequel of Thalainagaram. It had a gangster running away from his past to lead a peaceful life, a solid betrayal angle and an excellent Vadivelu, but its outcome was incomparable with the OG. Seventeen years later, Sundar C is back as Right (a) Subramaniam with a standalone sequel to Thalainagaram. The new VZ Dhorai directorial is more on the lines of Vikram (2022), which had a protagonist from a yesteryear movie set in a new world and different genre. Thalainagaram 2 is more of a gangster actioner and has limited offerings in terms of interpersonal drama, unlike the 2006 film.
Cast: Sundar C,Palak Lalwani ,Thambi Ramaiah
Director: VZ Dhorai
But anyone who has caught the original would be rightfully puzzled about the existence of a sequel as the protagonist Right gets killed in the climax.Well, the makers have gone the Fast and Furious route to bring back the character which was presumed to be dead. Barring a passing reference to Right surviving the bloody encounter in 2006, Dhorai doesn't sweat much to explain the years in between, nor does he try to recreate or cash in on the plot points of the original. But, he takes liberal doses of inspiration from other gangster films; while the hero elevation dialogues and villain trio remind us of KGF, the gruesomeness in the crimes belong to the world of Dandupalya, and I almost forgot, there is an entire 'don't you dare touch my dog' troupe lifted from John Wick. Despite these heavy influences Thalainagaram 2 doesn't come across as a wannabe film thanks to the unconventional and racy screenplay of Dhorai in the first half. Before we are introduced to Right, who is a changed man and a real estate expert at present, we are shown the world of the three major villains and their rise to power. These subplots are written with so much effort and realism that we start buying them as mafias within minutes, despite their limited performance. The unique modus operandi, want and arc of these characters gets us intrigued and anticipate a racy gangster thriller with gratifying violence. Soon, Right gets entangled in this web of crimes and the entire focus moves towards him vs rest of the underworld amping up the engagement meter. Even though the film has noticeable pitfalls in the execution, the racy screenplay and the editing that complements the narrative makes us oversee the blemishes exactly till the first half of the film. The screenplay that kept had enough surprises and stakes to keep us invested in the proceedings loses steam in the latter half and almost derails. The effort that went into introducing the bad gangster, pitting him against the ugly villains and tying knots around their equation, goes missing when the knots are untangled. Just like Sundar C's Iruttu and Pattampoochi, Thalainagram 2 also suffers from the infamous 'second half syndrome'. The reckless second half of the film almost ruins whatever was built initially.
Another major issue of Thalainagaram 2 is the attempt to cash in on the mass appeal of Right from Thalainagaram. There are multiple 'enaku innoru paeru iruku'isque scenes but none of them feel effective as Right was painted as a kind-hearted man who gets absorbed into a network of crimes rather than a killing machine in the original and the character never gained a pop-culture status like Naai Sekar, for us to get instantly excited about the revival of the character. During one of the serious heroic scenes, Sundar C encounters a goon and gives him a quick gnyaan on why he shouldn't be messed up with as he is the most-notorious Right. But the very next minute, the goon on the other end goes,"Ivan yaar ne therla na!" unintentionally leaving the entire theatre in splits. Right doesn't stop there, he continues introducing himself to a lot of people over the course of the film, as if he is aware that people have forgotten him and he no longer relevant. When the hero himself comes across as such a simpleton its quite hard to buy him as a gangster demi-God just because the BGMs scream out loud during his entries. With a more refined writing that probes into the psych of Right and inclusion of people who were with him during his glorious years would have made a lot of difference. But, Dhorai seems to be quite unbothered about it. During a crucial scene a character in the film looks at Right towards the end of the film and says,"Indha Thalainagram ipo unaku seri pattu varadhu rightu!" Though he says this on an entirely different context, it is hard to shake off the thought that it might be a warning to Sundar C, the actor who took a little long to return to the Thalainagaram universe and without the right writing, playing Right isn't possibly the right move at the moment.