The late Power Star's film, which released on his birthday on March 17, is now on SonyLiv.
Last Updated: 03.40 PM, Apr 14, 2022
Story: Major Santhosh Kumar is on a mission to eradicate a drug mafia. Wondering why an army man would take on such an operation? Well, it’s personal for him, but meant for the greater good of the nation.
Review: How do you review a film that has transcended to a different space and is an emotion? It’s a truly conflicting situation, but one that needs to be addressed. Is James a great film - not by any length, but it will go down the annals of history as one of the biggest Kannada hits, purely because of an outpouring of love for its late leading man, Puneeth Rajkumar.
James is Kannada cinema’s Power Star, the late Puneeth Rajkumar’s last commercial film, the operative word here being commercial. Director Chethan Kumar’s got a bare minimal plot line that has questionable elements, but what he does with that is present a stylishly-made actioner within the limitations he was presented with - his leading man passed away while the film was still in production and some “patchwork was pending”.
A major chunk of the film’s 149-minute run-time is dedicated to action, with Puneeth waltzing from one high-octane stunt sequence to another. There’s hand combat, gun fight, mid-air flips, helicopter kicks, the works – the Power Star is in supreme form in the action sequences. The screen presence he commands in these sequences will allow you to suspend disbelief even when he, armed with only one pistol, takes on the might of 10-15 machine-gun bearing goons.
This is also a film in which the Power Star perhaps looked his absolute best, especially physically. The actor was on a massive fitness spree during the lockdown and the time the film was shot and that shows onscreen.
James, as the film’s team has maintained, is a treat for fans of the Power Star. One can only imagine how much better it would have been if he’d also dubbed for the role. Shivarajkumar does a great job of providing vocals for his late brother, but there’s no denying that the Power Star’s voice had a different lilt to it and would have elevated the performance even more.
The film has a massive ensemble cast, including Priya Anand, Sarath Kumar, Srikanth, Mukesh Rishi, Tilak, Rangayana Raghu, Tarak Ponnappa, John Kokken, Chikkanna, Shine Shetty, Anu Prabhakar Mukherjee, among others, all of who do what’s required of them in this tale that’s a start-to-finish Puneeth show. Kudos to Chethan for neatly blending in Shivarajkumar and Raghavendra Rajkumar’s cameo roles.
Verdict: James does not have the greatest story, and that is something that his fans will overlook, as they’ve got to see him one last time in a full-fledged film. Director Chethan deserves a pat on the back for living up to his promise of delivering the film on Puneeth’s birthday today, even if that meant CGI shots of the late actor and an entire action sequence with a stunt double.
Ultimately, it is the emotion surrounding James that counts. This is one of the actor’s most massy outings, which his fans will love and cherish for time to come. This is also a film that does not require any review for his fans to head to the theatre. Bolo Bolo James!
PS: Lookout for the Trademark song - it's even better on the big screen with some killer signature moves by Puneeth.