Cast: Abhishek Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai, Uday Chopra
Direction: Sanjay Gadhvi
Bigger and better - that's what we've been promised from Dhoom 2, this week's big new Bollywood release, director Sanjay Gadhvi's sequel to his hit 2004 entertainer.
It is a cat and mouse chase once again but in the new film, police officer Abhishek Bachchan and his faithful ally Uday Chopra are in hot pursuit of an International thief, one who steals the queen's crown from a running train in Namibia, a coveted diamond in a Mumbai museum, and some precious coins from an archeological display in Brazil.
Straight out of those good old James Bond films, the thief in question Hrithik Roshan is a cucumber cool conman who uses everything from fancy gadgets to unique disguises to get his job done.
He finds a partner in fellow thief Aishwarya Rai with whom he's planning a big theft, but the question is, can he trust her completely?
There's absolutely no question about the fact that Dhoom 2 is bigger than the earlier film, packed as it is with sensational set pieces like Hrithik's breathtaking skydive in the film's opening scene, or that almost poetic bungee drop with Hrithik and Aishwarya, or even that thrilling bike chase in the tunnel which ends with them gliding over a helicopter's blades.
In all fairness, it's not just the action that's gone four notches higher, it's also the sheer energy of the film, and by that I mean the stunts, the gadgets, the songs, the locations, almost everything.
It's what I call "all-stops pulled out entertainment." The makers of this film want you to suspend your sense of disbelief and just go along for the ride, which you're absolutely willing to do, but having said that, there are some things that are just not excusable.
I'm willing to believe that Hrithik has all these fancy gadgets like this remote-controlled robotic device that can move across the room, climb up a table and steal a heavily guarded diamond, but do you really expect me to believe that not a single person in that room would notice this remote-controlled device moving all over the place?
Not a single one of those dozens of security guards under whose feet the damn thing is moving? A bit much, don't you think? You have to understand, if you're modeling your film after the James Bond pictures or Mission Impossible, then you have to find a way to make the unbelievable look believable. That is the challenge.
One of the big reasons I enjoyed Dhoom 2 so much is because it's like the ultimate wet dream.
It's almost as if the makers of this film secretly went into the heads of young men and women, listened to their most private thoughts, their most ultimate fantasies, and then decided, "let's give it to them."
I mean think about it, Bipasha Basu sizzling hot in a two-piece string bikini, Aishwarya Rai in micro-mini shorts, tight tank-tops and tall boots, Hrithik and Aishwarya playing basketball in the rain in their black ganjis, and then the piece de resistence, a nice hot smooch between Hrithik and Ash even if there wasn't any tongue involved.
In many, many ways, Dhoom 2 is a perfect example of what's seriously wrong with big-budget Bollywood movies.
Because while lots of money's been spent on hiring big stars, making them look good in gorgeous clothes, filming at exotic locations, shooting hit songs, and designing all these breathtaking stunts and action scenes, the most basic, the most fundamental, the most vital element - the script - has been completely ignored.
The screenplay of Dhoom 2 is embarrassingly amateurish because nothing really happens in the film. Honestly, it's just a string of fabulous action pieces, with some romance, some comedy and a few songs thrown in for good measure.
All the embellishments are in place but where's the story? I'm going to make my favourite comparison here - you're making a biryani and you've got the meat, you've got the spices, you've got the salt and the potatoes, but you forget the rice.
You can't make biryani without the rice. And there, you can't make a movie without a script.
Of the film's cast, Uday Chopra as the lovable sidekick who wears his heart on his sleeve manages to raise a few laughs, but because the script doesn't really allow him to find his feet, his jokes become repetitive and you feel like he's got way too much screen-time than his character deserves.
Perhaps the opposite is true of Bipasha Basu who oozes sex appeal without any help from the script but she's just not given enough opportunity to make her presence felt.
Aishwarya Rai, meanwhile, is all sexed up and everything from her tan make-up to her costumes are designed with the intention to make your jaw drop.
Abhishek Bachchan, sadly, doesn't hold up but the blame for that must go to the script again for reducing him to a mere supporting player.
But if there's one reason you must watch Dhoom 2, then that reason is Hrithik Roshan. He holds the film together and even manages to take your attention away from its many flaws.
Hrithik is one of those rare actors who's not only abundantly talented, but he's also blessed with a presence that's electrifying. With the grace of a dove he throws himself into the film's many challenging stunt scenes - skydiving, sand-surfing, scuba-diving, roller-blading, bungee-jumping - and he does it all so well.
Whether it's in the action scenes, or the songs, whether he's romancing Aishwarya or jumping off a cliff, it's hard to take your eyes off him.
He is, quite simply, the heart, the soul and the spirit of Dhoom 2. So it's unabashedly entertaining and it's two-and-a-half hours well spent but I want director Sanjay Gadhvi to promise he'll spend more time working on the script if they decide to do Dhoom 3.