The central antagonist spends the first half of ‘Laththi’ with a yellow plastic bag over his head. This is not a bad idea - with the right execution, a plastic-bag-headed villain could conjure associations with comic book villains, for example DC Comic’s Scarecrow. However, in the unspectacular and unremarkable ‘Laththi,’ this comes across as ridiculous.
The film follows suspended police constable Muruganantham, played by Vishal, who seeks reemployment after a wrongful arrest, bout of police brutality and a Human Rights investigation. Within the first ten minutes, the tone of the film is set, and the audience knows exactly what they are in for; a flashback reveals the now compliant Muruganantham during his heyday - using his titular ‘Laththi’ to beat twenty men to the ground in one fell swoop.
Other than Sunaina - who plays Muruganantham’s loving wife Sunaina - and Vinod Sagar - the main antagonist’s henchman - all the other performances in the film are highly overdramatised. An emotional scene near the end of the film has Vishal writhing on the floor, which elicits more laughter than sympathy. Prabhu Ganesan, an actor I usually find extremely limited in his acting range, plays a character we have seen a variant of many times.
The cinematography is mostly bland. The camera moves fluidly a few times: the opening roaming shot through the construction site is impressive, and there are a few instances where the camera spins for no discernible reason. The construction site, which is a major setting for most of the second half, lends a few visually decent shots. Otherwise, there is nothing noteworthy in the production. The makeup department should be commended for the disturbingly believable prosthetics used following gory violence.
There are two song sequences in the film, both of which are short snippets rather than five minute musical interludes. The soundtrack is composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja, which could not uplift this mess of a film. One song sounded reminiscent of the fiery theme music from ‘Sandakozhi’ (another Yuvan and Vishal collaboration), but otherwise the film’s music was uneventful.
In the second half, the lofty ambitions of the film could have been admirable. In a long sequence which seems inspired by claustrophobic action films such as ‘Die Hard’ and ‘The Raid’, most of the high octane action takes place in one location. However, the action choreography, the special effects, and the confused tone leave ‘Laththi’ a pale imitation of the aforementioned films.
I laughed a lot at the unintentional comedy in the film, often joined by other audience members. ‘Laththi’ is a prime example of a decent concept ruined by terrible execution. There were many factors which were haphazardly completed, which needed more time, care and attention for the potentially adequate thriller ‘Laththi’ could have been. For Vishal's best performed role, I would recommend Bala's 'Avan Ivan.'
Krishna's rating: 2 stars
Official trailer for the film below.