Director; S.S. Rajamouli. Starring; N.T. Rama Rao Jr., Ram Charan Teja, Ajay Devgyn. Rated R. Color. 187 Minutes.
“RRR’ is so original that if one were to work at a BLOCKBUSTER anywhere in the world, back when that still existed, your standard employee would have a hard time deciding which category to place it in on the shelves. It has all of the elements an epic requires. Deception, class/racial tensions, otherworldly themes, romantic intrigue, and of course unbelievable action. While some of the Bollywood style themes may seem foreign to select American moviegoers make no mistake, “RRR” is an incredible filmgoing experience.
From the very beginning it is clear that “RRR” came to play. The title is broken up into three different segments; RISE, ROAR, REVOLT.
RISE: Taking place in 1920’s British occupied India, the monarchy lead by Raj. Governor Scott Buxton (Ray Stevenson) and his battalion treat the people like slaves. In a small village Buxton’s wife is captivated by a little girl with a beautiful voice and the ability to draw elegant hand markings. They kidnap the girl as she is their rightful property, causing the village warrior-protector Komaram (N.T. Rama Rao Jr.) into action. The hero trains in extreme ways, including outrunning and taming a tiger before he heads to Delhi with plans of rescuing the girl.
Meanwhile we have Rama (Ram Charan), a low end British officer who has chosen to turn against his people for reasons you must discover for yourself. While defending a British embassy from a mob of his people, Rama goes off on a jaw dropping rampage as he single handily takes down hundreds of rioters before defeating their leader. That spikes the interest of Governor Buxton. He enlists Rama to infiltrate the local villages in hopes of finding this ‘warrior-protector’ that is coming to rescue the girl. By doing so Rama would become the first local to hold a top position in the British military.
ROAR: Now that he is deep undercover, Rama is on the hunt. Along the way he sees just how awful his brothers and sisters are being treated on the streets. One incident involving British soldiers beating locals with Komaram intervening brings the two guys together, neither of which knows who the other is. Komaram’s motives are clear where as Rama’s are continuously changing. The two become best friends with two opposing end goals.
Komaran and Rama enjoy hanging out doing fun stuff in various settings. The highlight being an epically hilarious while also genuine musical number taking place in front of the rich white elite that has the wives dancing with the “heathens” while the tight-ass white guys watch in anger. But of course, this friendship and its facade has a shelf-life.
REVOLT: The inevitable clash between our two friends happens during an attack on the Governor’s residency in hopes of recovering the child. The first confrontation sees Rama toting the company line and results in Komaran’s imprisonment. It is at this point the true motivations of both men are revealed and the ultimate denial against dictatorship begins.
This three act structure sums up “RRR” on a basic level. In reality this film is so much more. To start with the action is grandiose and extreme in all the right ways. Both Rao Jr. and Teja are a force on screen with very different fighting styles on display. Director Rajamouli is not afraid of the absurd, including one hero catching a motorcycle mid-air. Somehow explosions constantly go beyond basic realism without becoming laughable.
Alongside Rajamouli is the brilliant photography accomplished by cinematographer KK Senthil Kumar. The landscape of the bright forests contrasted with the downtrodden poor towns brings the viewer into 1920’s India. Kumar also finds a way to portray insane action sequences without the audience ever losing spatial awareness of what is happening. Perhaps Kumar’s best sequence is that needed musical number that will have you foot-tapping all the way through.
Without a doubt “RRR” goes above and beyond what us ‘westerners’ think of the Bollywood formula. This film rivals any epic from any country. Most importantly, “RRR” transcends a genre that is often pigeon-holden. An adventure awaits from the beginning to the end if you are willing to take it.
SUCK FACTOR: 0 out of 7. 7 means your movie really SUCKS!
The SUCK FACTOR! How it works. We have flipped the script on the standard ratings system. If you make a masterpiece, such as “The Godfather”, you receive a perfect 0 on the scale. If you make a total piece of garbage, such as a Michael Bay movie, you receive the ultimate imperfect 7 out of 7. That means your movie really SUCKS!