Kung Fu Master (2020) Malayalam Movie Review – Veeyen


After three impressive directorial ventures that could possibly be as distinct from each other as they could be, Abrid Shine tries his hand at an action caper this time around, with ‘Kung Fu Master’ that however misses its mark by a mile.  Barring a few riveting action sequences in the latter half, ‘Kung Fu Master’ is mostly a disappointing show that does little justice to the superb efforts put in by its leading cast.


After three impressive directorial ventures that could possibly be as distinct from each other as they could be, Abrid Shine tries his hand at an action caper this time around, with ‘Kung Fu Master’ that however misses its mark by a mile.  Barring a few riveting action sequences in the latter half, ‘Kung Fu Master’ is mostly a disappointing show that does little justice to the superb efforts put in by its leading cast.

‘Kung Fu Master’ is all about the siblings Rithu (Neeta Pillai) and Rishi (Jiji Scaria), who find their lives upturned all on a sudden, when Louis Antony (Sanoop Dinesh) barges into their idyllic home one night and massacres everyone around.  Left for dead, Rishi holds on to the last remnants of life in him, and works his way back to life, aided by his sister. With none left except each other to reach out to, they live on, with the sole intent of seeking vengeance on the ones that had ruined their lives beyond repair.

Unlike other Abrid Shine films, the script totally takes a backseat in ‘Kung Fu Master’ and this becomes apparent in the very opening scene that involves quite an elongated sequence that has Lewis Antony dancing around in an amorous tryst with a fellow dancer. When the scenes cuts to a flashback, it’s no better, and you get to watch Rithu engaged in a conversation with three kids with the kids’ mother soon joining them.

Surprisingly, the dialogues sound plastic, unlike the genuinely instinctive sequences and conversational pieces that had become a hallmark of Abrid Shine films. Here, the characters appear like being part of a stage show, with a practice session going on, with each person uttering out a sentence and animatedly waiting for the next to finish off his piece, so that they could pitch in the rest of their contributions.

This goes on for a while – in fact, for almost the entirety of the former half – and its only by half way time that things start looking up. The ‘Intermission’ card that comes up transforms itself into ‘Termination’ in the first scene post-interval, and from there on, ‘Kung Fu Master’ shows signs of a resurrection.

Story wise, there is little progression to be made, and it becomes obvious that the USP of this film is the action sequences that are to follow. You get to watch glimpses of the director who had awed you with his previous films in these scenes, that are without doubt the very best action scenes that you have seen in a very, very long time.

Especially worth a special mention are the tremendously agile performances that the actors have come up with. Its only with bated breath that you would be able to watch Neeta Pillai in action, and the cheery, buoyant college union chairperson of ‘Poomaram’ alters herself into an unrecognizably tough martial arts performer with the fists of steel. Jiji Scaria is downright imposing, and comes up with a foolproof performance, while Sanoop Dinesh commendably brings in the right blend of stealth and spite into his portrayal of the deranged criminal. Arjun Ravi’s frames are remarkable,  and the stun direction top-notch.

‘Kung Fu Master’ remains far from a fulfilling experience because it goes squashy on the base tale that it sets up the action on. This could have been a frenzied retribution drama for sure, had it had the engaging sharpness to its script that the film maker’s prior films had.


Verdict: Average


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