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Several heads are decapitated and torsos slashed in action drama Action Jackson, but it’s the viewers who feel the pain. There’s no easier way to say this: but Ajay Devgn’s latest film is traumatic and is an endurance test of the worst kind. The story begins with a series of combats between local gangster Vishi (Devgn) and a few scruffy looking villains. The baddies want him, cops want him too.

But we aren’t told why he’s being chased so relentlessly by every unwashed ruffian out there until an hour into the film. And the worst part is that Vishi doesn’t look particularly dangerous nor does he seem to exude that invincibility that suggests that he may be operating an empire built on unscrupulous deeds. But even a deadly-looking mobster from South East Asia is out for his blood. Just as we got our heads round that, Vishi meets Khushi, played by Sonakshi Sinha.

She’s a klutz who’s so clumsy that she never reaches work on time because she’s either stumbling over potholes or running out of petrol in her bike. But her misfortunes are magically reversed when she runs into Vishi in a dressing room at a mall. He’s semi-clad and she’s convinced that seeing him naked brought her good luck. As far as superstitions go, this one trumps logic and Vishi unwittingly earns one more stalker in his life. She plots ways to see him without his pants on and several songs-cum-flirtatious exchanges later, they realise that they are in love. The action thriller that had a hero spouting dialogues like “No commitment, no appointment — just punishment” and that “he’s criminally good” morphs into a syrupy love story.

But just as we are being lulled to sleep, director Prabhu Deva yanks us awake with a twist — Vishi has a doppelganger. The second half of the film takes you into the world of AJ, the right hand man of Xavier (Anand Raj) — a mafia kingpin. Things were merry between them until Xavier’s drug-snorting sister Marina falls in love with AJ.

Now where do you being with a problem like Marina? She’s painted as this man-eating devil incarnate. Played by former model Manasvi Mamgai, she is pure evil with chronic anger management issues and zero tolerance to rejection by males. Once she’s spurned by AJ, all hell breaks looks as she unleashes her wrath on him and his girlfriend (Yami Gautam). She’s the kind of woman who kicks her bodyguard with her stiletto-shod feet and they hurtle off a skyscraper.

While her putrid persona makes for an intriguing watch, she doesn’t somehow nail the sassy seductress part. Her performance lacks soul and somebody needs to tell director Prabhu Deva that painting the evil guys with tattoos on bald heads/bare backs, stuffing a green glass eye on the villains and dark lipstick doesn’t induce eeriness. The scene in which AJ spurns Marina’s amorous advances in a bikini is unintentionally laughable. Dialogues such as “Marina doesn’t like people easily, but you are an exception” and “what I want, I get” are corny, even know they aren’t meant to be.

There’s no redeeming feature in Action Jackson, a film that’s purely self-indulgent. Skip it.