Lokesh Kanagaraj, one of Tamil cinema’s most promising filmmakers, has launched his own production house with the film “Fight Club.” This debut directorial effort by Abbas A. Rahmath has generated much interest, especially considering its intriguing title. However, does the Tamil “Fight Club” live up to its namesake?
A Predictable Plot Rooted in Stereotypes
The film revolves around Benjamin (Kaarthekeyan Santhanam), who dreams of seeing North Chennai’s next generation embrace sports over rowdyism and drug peddling. He motivates young Selva (Vijay Kumar) to pursue football and promises financial assistance to enroll him in a club. However, tragedy strikes when Benjamin is brutally murdered by Joseph (Avinash Raghudevan) and Kiruba (Shankar Thas).
This event triggers a chain reaction, altering the lives of Selva and many others. Kiruba manipulates Joseph into serving his prison sentence while he consolidates his power in the area, eventually entering politics. Upon release, Joseph realizes Kiruba’s betrayal and joins forces with Selva to exact revenge.
“Fight Club” falls into the trap of predictability, succumbing to the overused tropes of North Chennai/Madras cinema: revenge, betrayal, drug peddling, and violence. While some films, like Vetri Maaran’s “Vada Chennai,” manage to breathe fresh life into these familiar themes, “Fight Club” fails to do so.
A Chaotic Screenplay and Unnecessary Subplots
The film’s first half suffers from a cluttered screenplay, juggling multiple subplots that ultimately weaken the narrative. We see Selva’s family struggling financially, his budding football career, his romance with Shailu (Monisha Mohan), Kiruba’s rise to power, and Joseph’s manipulation of Selva’s gang. These disparate elements create a sense of chaos, diluting the film’s focus.
Despite the initial promise of a dark humor-infused hyperlink narrative in the first half, the second half loses its steam. The fight sequences lack purpose, and the love story feels extraneous.
Technical Brilliance Amidst Narrative Shortcomings
Despite its narrative shortcomings, “Fight Club” shines in its technical aspects. Cinematographer Leon Britto and editor Kripakaran deliver commendable work, while Govind Vasantha’s music and background score elevate the visuals. The performances by Vijay Kumar, Kaarthekeyan Santhanam, Avinash Raghudevan, and Saravanavel are well-suited to their respective roles.
A Missed Opportunity
“Fight Club” had the potential to be a powerful exploration of revenge and redemption in the underbelly of North Chennai. However, its reliance on tired tropes, a cluttered screenplay, and unnecessary subplots ultimately make it a forgettable experience. While the technical aspects deserve praise, they cannot salvage the film’s weak narrative.
If you’re looking for a fresh and engaging story set in North Chennai, “Fight Club” may disappoint. However, if you’re a fan of the genre’s familiar beats and appreciate strong performances and technical finesse, you might find some enjoyment in this film.
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