Are you watching closely? Director R Ajay Gnanamuthu is about to pull a rabbit out of a hat. See, there are the pointy ears, oh, that one looks like The Prestige. The adorable twin face… there’s nothing here that we haven’t already seen in Anniyan and Dasavatharam. There is a lot of excitement in the air but can this rabbit be more than just an ensemble of pop-cultural artefacts?
It’s a cardinal sin to use rabbit as a metaphor to discuss a movie named Cobra. However, after enduring this movie, I believe I’m allowed to have this much fun
The main draw of Cobra was Vikram appearing in multiple avatars, ranging in different looks, sizes and shapes. So Ajay kicks off the movie with what the audience wanted. The money is exchanged at a badly-lit parking spot in India to take out the king of Scotland, who is about to get married. We see the assassin Cobra, (Vikram), disguised as the top priest at the king’s church. In the following scene, which is about five minutes long, we see how our hero, the math genius, bumps off the king in a packed church, as he is guarded by gunmen. It’s one of the most incoherent scenes I have ever seen in a movie. We don’t get a sense of the culture or the tradition that’s shown on the screen, as everything is overwhelmed by a deafening background score that overlaps with dialogues.
A film about a globetrotting assassin with a deep fascination for cosplay would be a lot of fun to watch if made properly. After ramping up the initial excitement, the film sinks. And it sinks further post-interval and it never recovers its ground even in the climax.
There is a scene in the police station where Vikram seems to try to enact a version of Ambi under interrogation. The film is trying to recreate the vibe of Dasavatharam, in which Kamal Haasan appeared in 10 get-ups, with Vikram’s shapeshifting talents. But, it’s just not enough. The writing is poor, especially when it comes to writing emotional scenes. It’s very hard to buy the sob tragic stories of twin brothers and star-crossed lovers in this day and age.
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One good thing about Cobra is that it gives Srinidhi Shetty scope to perform as Bhavana Menon; a bigger chance than what she got in the two KGF movies. Irfan Pathan as Aslan Yilmaz is a classic stock character and doesn’t amount to much. So does the young math enthusiast played by Meenakshi Govindarajan. She talks a lot in the movie but she adds no value to the narrative or our movie-watching experience