Early in “The Warrior Queen of Jhansi
,” there’s a scene that feels like something you’d find in a Bollywood
take on “Wonder Woman
,” during which Rani Lakshmibai, the feisty monarch of the title, takes time from serving as drill instructor for a unit of female troops to deal with the harrumphing skepticism of a male visitor. “Do you really think you can train these women to fight like men?” he asks. “No,” Lakshmibai confidently replies. Pause. “I will train them to fight better than men.”
Yes, “The Warrior Queen of Jhansi
” is that kind of movie.
Specifically, it’s the kind of old school historical epic where charismatic upstarts lead idealistic revolts against tyrannical colonialists, outnumbered revolutionaries are by turns anxiously dreaded and condescendingly underestimated, and scowling louts periodically reveal the full depths of their industrial-strength nastiness by bellowing lines such as, “She will never surrender! She needs to be broken and destroyed!