(Warning: Spoilers ahead)
Third time's still lucky; that's how I'd characterize Salman Khan's audacious portrayal as the super-agent in 'Tiger 3'. Khan brings his immense star power to this action spectacle, replete with improbable stunts, death-defying leaps, and wild car/bike chase sequences. Avinash Singh Rathore, known as Tiger on the field, embarks on a global adventure fighting off evil men threatening humankind. He's on fire, not breaking a sweat as bombs explode around him and bullets spray with zany abandon. Enjoying 'Tiger 3' hinges on your ability to suspend belief and swear allegiance to Khan's bravado and machismo.
Matching him on the action front is a well-cast Katrina Kaif as Zoya, the former super-agent from Pakistan. The two, now married, make the most of their cross-cultural romance. She has hung up her boots on the ground, living an idyllic life in Austria with her Indian husband and their young son. However, their life isn't as perfect as it seems, getting embroiled in the world of espionage and double-crossing. What makes this movie work are its impressive action sequences. The thrill is real, and Khan executes those adrenaline-pumped moments neatly. It helps that he's one of the most well-preserved actors in Bollywood today.
Just like Hollywood has Ethan Hunt from Mission: Impossible doing jaw-dropping stunts, there's Khan and his stunt double making the most of burning bridges and leaping off them. Be warned, the action can get a bit monotonous, but a well-timed cameo saves the day. Just like Shah Rukh Khan's 'Pathaan' had a cameo by Tiger, he now returns the favor. The scenes where Shah Rukh in his rakish 'Pathaan' avatar swoops in to save his ally are pure gold. We love how both of these aging superstars can utilize their combined star power for greater entertainment. Was it necessary? No, but did it work? A loud yes.
The movie is also gender-neutral when it comes to its action sequences. Kaif is lithe and impressive in her action scenes. The Turkish Hamam scene, in which she's on call to fight off her female opponent in a strategically placed bath towel, is highly entertaining. Emraan Hashmi as the antagonist, Aatish, is menacing and evil. The movie is powered by his character's all-consuming hatred to obliterate Tiger.
Be warned, some plot twists in the film demand that you suspend belief and logic. The climax scenes set in Pakistan, where Zoya and Tiger swear to fight off the bad guys and save their Prime Minister, played with great restraint by actress Simran, are loud and over-the-top. The bombastic action adventure is also bogged down by stereotypical representations of natives who don't belong to India.
While certain action sequences land smoothly, a few scenes high on combat seem stale and repetitive. After all, there's a limit to which you can watch grown men fight it out with guns and grenades.
But what makes this movie work is Khan's unending star power. Even in the third part, this Tiger seems to have a lot of life in it.
Director: Maneesh Sharma
Cast: Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Emraan Hashmi, Simran, and Revathy
Stars: 3.5 out of 5