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Some films in this list have received a "beyond an F" letter grade, in my IMDb reviews. That is simply a PG version of "fuck this movie". A "0/10" is better than a "complete 0/10", btw.
The movies are listed in release order, the ranks and super short reviews are in the description.
If some of my reviews (if I have reviewed), have a "beyond an F" letter grade, it simple means "fuck this movie". I cannot use that in the reviews because of IMDb. So, fuck IMDb.
Incredibly good, even 47 years later
If a movie is capable of making some nobody like Amitabh Bachchan to a megastar that he still is today, that movie is something special. Back when it came out Bollywood was dominated by romantic films. It was a breath of fresh air, whose formula, unfortunately, has been so overused by this date that it's a cliche now. Definitely, some part this review is going to be in retrospect and I am definitely going to share some opinions about why this movie is still as good as it was 47 years ago.
Just imagine, you have been watching romantic films constantly, and all of a sudden you get a surprisingly good revenge drama. Definitely you're going to dig it. That's what happened back then, and it was an overnight success. Obviously, if you try to watch a movie keeping yourself in the period when it came out, you'll definitely like it more, but not every movie was good back then, and definitely are not going to be good in retrospect. Zanjeer is not that kind of movie. If you have watched a whole lot of Bollywood films, then you can definitely name at least a thousand different movies which follows the same formula as that of Zanjeer. But the thing that makes Zanjeer better than all of them, apart from being one of the earliest of its kind is that it knew how to make things not look cheesy for most parts. Prakash Mehra does a very good job of directing the movie, making all the action and drama really intense while always making sure that the intensity isn't overdone or insufficiently done. Romantic scenes are there, which are cherishing, but not at all reminds of a generic romance prevalent in the cinema of India back then. So, even the mandatory romance in the film doesn't seem forced.
The pacing is quite good. It's more than two and a half hours long, but doesn't feel like one. Even the songs are awesome and do not slow down the pace. They contribute at least something to the story. And speaking of story, oh boy, haven't there been such an aggressive hero in the Bollywood films prior to this. He looks as if he will definitely kill you if you mess with him. Bachchan does a really great job in his first role as the angry young man. He was best in Deewaar and Kaala Patthar as the angry young man, but this one is a very close second. Although his performance is terrific, if you have seen his later works, you can see the rooms for improvement. Pran as Sher Khan is a great supporting character, equally aggressive as our hero but a little naive in nature. The two would've been worth seeing, even if the movie was absolute garbage. Jaya Bhaduri doesn't have much screen time, but in whatever she has been given, she does an amazing job. The other one in the list is Om Prakash. He does a great job of playing a kinda mysterious character whose plotline merges absolutely perfectly with the main story. All the others have done a fine job too.
All these are the reasons why it was so popular then, and is still as good as the people say it is (and also why it is better than every other movie of this kind which came later). But, I think, the main reason for that would be that we can feel what the hero is feeling. For the most of the movie he has the aggression inside of him. We feel that when we watch that movie. And, when he is in relief, we feel that, and that's something not all the movies of its kind have. If you are into old Bollywood films, it's a must watch. If you are not, you can watch it once and I am sure you won't be bored at all.
Rating : absolute 10/10; golden A+
Really good movie, but ...
One of the best Bollywood action films of all times. And not only Bollywood, it's one of the best action films I have ever seen. Not that I like every single bit of it, but most part - obviously! The first 10-15 minutes of montage sets up the scenario that we're in and the overall tone the movie is going to take. The themes related to the ethnic partiality and anti-terrorism are quite well-handled. And, the characterizations are done mostly well. The action scenes are fine, they're okay, not the best choreography. But more importantly, there's a conflict being felt during the action scenes. They're not here's a guy, he hates that guy, so shoot him in the face kind of thing. You can actually feel something happening rather than watching a mandatory fight scene. The way the story unfolds is pretty interesting. There are some predictable plot devices being used, but that doesn't take the movie down. That's because there is something else which is equally interesting going to take place after that. The romantic scenes feel a little forced, but don't do any harm. Aamir Khan and Naseeruddin Shah share an incredible dynamic. Whatever they feel about each other, we feel it too - or at least I did. All that is mostly because of the performances of the actors. This one does have a story to tell and 90% of the story it tells is absolutely perfect. It's two and a half hour long movie, believe me, it doesn't feel like one (prepare yourself for tiny little twists). On top of that, Aamir Khan and Naseeruddin Shah gives two of their most memorable performances of all times. And I haven't seen Mukesh Rishi giving a better performance than he did in this movie. Unpopular opinion - Mukesh Rishi is better in positive roles. "Hosh walo ko khabar kyaa" is a gazal that was worth being inside of this film. It doesn't out of place, and Jagjit Singh is an awesome singer. That's the only song worth listening again and again. If you want to listen "Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Sathyo", I suggest the original one.
Rest of the songs are just forced in. They slow down the movie unnecessarily. But the main thing that bugged me was that they tried to implicate every act of terrorism. You can obviously put your side of the story, but there are good people and bad people in every part of the world. If you judge Pakistan based solely on Bollywood films, it's the biggest manufacturer of terrorists. That's totally false. Apart from that the movie is solid. It would've been one of my all time favorites. Rating : 9/10; A.
Hard Kill (2020)
I don't know what is going on here ....
The driest, wooden and terribly hollow action film I have ever seen. I have seen a whole lot of Bruce Willis' direct to video action films he does for quick money, but this is beyond the tolerance limit. Clearly, it's a rip-off of Die Hard and Live Free or Die Hard. The title says it all. Hard Kill. It surely doesn't sound like "Die Hard" at all. All we have is a bunch of John McClane wannabes stuck in an isolated .... something .... and they need to stop a group of techno terrorists led by Liev Schreiber lite after a something, which they would use to "end the world". So, basically the movie has some world ending stakes, but doesn't feel like so at all. And on top of that none of it makes any sense. (A bunch of weird people who can use guns to stop the world ending threat, eh? Suicide Squad anyone?) Bruce Willis is just there to make 10 to 12 fools like me watch the movie, because people like me love Die Hard films (not the last one though) and John McClane is an absolute favourite action hero of us. He is there to sit on a chair for 12 (out of 15) minutes of his screen time doing absolutely nothing. I would've been fine if Willis was the lead. Would've still hated the film, but not to this extent. Through brief flashbacks and ridiculously boring exposition scenes, the characters are set up. And, though they pretend to have some depth in them, there's nothing there. And, all they do is blow up a whole bunch of cardboard and wooden boxes. And not to mention, the performances are much more wooden than the wooden boxes they blow up. They sort of built a supposedly intense conflict between the hero and the villain and their final fight is not even a minute long, and it ends before things even get started. Apart from this, it is full of rotten and overdone cliches of the action films. Former WWE diva Eva Marie doesn't seem to be that great of an actress.
It's not worth your time. If you love action films, stay away from it. If not, you'll have a strong reason to justify why you're not a fan. It's really sad to see Bruce Willis, who once played one of the greatest action heroes (John McClane), devolve into a money hungry old man who does films like these to get a little money.
Rating ~ Number Scale : complete 0/10; Letter Grade : beyond an F