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#UKAsianReview: ‘Kick’ leaves you with an overwhelming desire to…

‘Kick’ is an upfront title – don’t see it for psychological complexity, insightful social comment, Oscar-worthy acting, an intricate plot or clever humour: go if you must, just for kicks.

As is customary, Salman Khan delivers his traditional Eid ‘treat’ for his millions of unquestioning devoted fans – usually young Indian men for whom ‘Bhai’ is a questionable role model – yet again.

There is a story.

It opens on a train in Warsaw, Poland where Indian psychiatrist Dr Shaina meets her arranged match intended hubby Himanshu (Randeep Honda). They bond.

The pretty doctor reveals her past romance with Devi Lal or ‘Devil’ (geddit? Clever eh!) played by Salman Khan.

This lady needs a shrink herself as she fell for a wastrel double her age who is unable to hold down a steady job and who makes a smoke bomb for a lark, beats up to a pulp ‘eve-teasers’, helps a couple elope and then dumped her for a higher high.

No wonder she saved his mobile phone details under the name of ‘Headache’.

Clearly this adrenalin junkie Devil craved not this heroine but heroin.

Himanshu’s story is less tragic: he is chasing an elusive thief who robs from the rich to help poor sick kids. Who needs Robin Hood when you have the Devil in a mask and who sports a French beard?

Meanwhile, another devil turns up in the form of the loony wheezy laughing Shiv (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) who exposes the entire shallow proceedings by actually acting.

Four writers are credited with coming up with this mindless but somewhat enjoyable claptrap including best-selling writer Chetan Bhagat but you wonder why this was needed, as it is a remake of a Telugu potboiler of the same name.

Regardless of the character he is playing – Chulbul Pandey, Lovely Singh, Tiger – Khan’s Devil is as one-dimensional as ever with Salman equating hamming to emoting.

A cringe-worthy sequence designed to tug at the heartstrings by showing a child suffering and Devil crying (he’s really a softie not a baddie you see) reeks of cinematic emotional blackmail.

Jacqueline Fernandez gets some footage to showcase her Beyoncé hip-hop skills and it’s clear she mistook the going to the gym for attending acting school.

First-time director Sajid Nadiadwala clearly has a ‘Dhoom 3’ hangover with bridges and buses existing only to be mashed up in cops ‘n’ robbers style chase sequences.

The only bright sparks are the songs especially ‘Jumme Ki Raat’ and ‘Yaar Na Miley’ which are damn catchy but so too is a STD.

Sajid throws in Salman dancing to his dead first wife’s Divya Bharti’s classic track ‘Saat Samundar Paar’ which is downright creepy.

Ultimately this ‘Kick’ is critic-proof.

It’s intended audience will lap it up and it may usher in the era of the 300 crore club. The only enjoyment discerning fans of sensible Indian cinema may get after sitting through two hours and twenty-five minutes of this is an overwhelming desire to kick Khan’s butt.

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