He can assess fresh fish and make a mean curry as well as pulp groups of men with lightening accuracy. He's a hard-trained assassin and a 'true patriot'. Kabir Ahlawat/Rocky Handsome (John Abraham) is a brooding man in black with a painful past, seeking refuge in his pawn shop and the endearing antics of a seven-year-old neighbour, Nayomi, whose errant, druggie mother has nicknamed her 'dustbin'—a euphemism for her birth antecedents.
Based on a 2010 Korean film, The Man From Nowhere, this is the Bollywood version of the action-thriller directed by Nishikant Kamat, who plays the bald lead villain Kevin Pereira. (Korea is big on nail art, so its possible that Nayomi's fascination for painting smileys on her wooden-faced neighbour's nail comes from there.)
The story is the proverbial love melting even the hardest of hearts—Ahlawat's beautiful pregnant wife (Shruti Haasan in a special appearance) dies with their unborn child, leading him to close down his emotional shutters. Eventually, he gets attached to Nayomi, who gets kidnapped by Pereira's gang.
Ahlawat stumbles upon a brutal cartel of all things wrong while trying to rescue her. Set across Goa and Mumbai, the plot becomes a hash of back and forth, offering sweeping glimpses into the world of child prostitution, drugs, organ trading, exploitation of women.
Suhasini Mulay's role as a child trafficker seems like a misfit, while Kazu Tilla as Atilla (Pereira's best hit-man) is convincing as the expert from Thailand. The action sequences between Atilla and Ahlawat in the washroom as well as the climax are possibly the only highlights.
While Abraham, who is said to have a learned a special martial art for the film, can barely twitch the acting muscle. Playing a bordering-on-precocious seven-year-old is young actor Diya Chalwad.
Gore and blood spill generously from this 126-minute film. Watch it if you're in a mood to indulge in some Bollywood style action, and given that the theatre was nearly empty on the second day of its release, sneaking into the recliner seating section and putting your feet up felt mildly redemptive.
Director: Nishikant Kamat
Cast: John Abraham, Shruti Haasan, Diya Chalwad
Rating: 2.5 / 5