RA.ONE blu-ray review

India Region-free blu-ray

1080p Widescreen 2.39:1

Hindi: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, DD 5.1 (original)

Tamil Dolby Digital 5.1, Telugu Dolby Digital 5.1 (dubs)

Subtitles: English, Arabic









Ra.One is currently the most expensive Bollywood ever made costing around 35 million dollars. This sci-fi film is about a video game developer played by Shah Rukh Khan who is perceived to be a loser by his 8-year old son. In order to impress his son, he develops a virtual-reality fighting game which features a super villain named Ra.One with characteristics of the ten most destructive historical bad guys. Khan also adds a superhero character into the game to fight against Ra.One, which looks just like the father, named G.One. The creation of the villain Ra.One gets out of hand, pulls a Tron, escapes the video game world and enters the real world, kills the father, and chases the son around London and Mumbai. In order to protect the boy and stop Ra.One from creating mayhem, one of the other video game developers figures out how to free G.One into the real world too. When G.One is not fighting Ra.One, the son and wife (played by Kareena Kapoor) teach G.One how to be more human in his spare time. Think of this movie as a cross between Tron and Terminator 2. The movie is entertaining but this is just another Bollywood movie that should be called Revenge of the Nerds 34. Almost every other commercial-made, Masala, non-arthouse Indian film is plagued by nerdissism or dorkeritus.

For 35 million bucks, the special effects are fine with some standout action scenes but not as many as I expected for the money that was spent. There are some creative slo-mo punching and intense train scenes, but the rest of the action is pretty forgettable. The problem with this movie is not the story nor the acting, but mainly due to India not hiring the professionals who specialize in wire work and screenwriting. What’s the point of spending so much money on a movie when they don’t put the money where it counts?

First, the fight choreography was actually pretty good in this movie, but it was ruined by poor wire work. If you are going to use wire work, make it smooth. The producers decided to not hire any Hong Kong action choreographers. In turn, actors look like they are just flung around like rag dolls – what a great way to ruin potentially cool-looking action scenes. Slo-motion wire-work flips are scenes that can actually bring people to the theaters. There’s a reason that people want to see Kate Beckinsale do those slo-mo flip kicks in the Underworld movies – she looks hot and she looks natural doing it because the wire-work is perfect. Sloppy wire work makes actors look bad and goofy! Once again, hire Hong Kong action choreographers!

Second, the screenplay written by supposedly rising star Kanika Dhillon is plagued by nerdissism or dorkeritus. She may be young and hot, but she’s no different from any other Indian screenwriter. Indian screenwriters must be the biggest nerds or dorks in the whole wide world because they are obsessed with adding their own insecurities into their screenplays. Could they make it more obvious that they are embarrassed with their own nation? You are embarrassing your country. You are creating a goofy and nerdy stereotype for your country! Here’s a list of no-no’s for you Bollywood screenwriters:

1. Stop trying to have characters that are trying to be cool or hip. Stop saying the word “cool” and “dude” in movies. Stop having dorky characters transform into cool characters because the supposedly cool characters are as dorky and embarrassing as their original nerd characters.

2. Stop throwing in fancy English words into movie dialogue to prove that you are a master of the English language as you are with Hindi. Yes, I understand that you are proud that India knows English as well as Hindi, but it never shows in Bollywood films. You are making India look bad. The more you bring awareness that you are using fancy words, the more forced, awkward, and embarrassing it seems. Bollywood movies would be better if they hired American, British, or Australian screenwriters for the English dialogue at least.

3. Stop perverting the idea of Masala. We all know it’s possible to mix action, drama, romance, music, and comedy into a film in a positive and charming way. Are you really proud of bringing it to the next level by including gory violence, sexism, racism, and homophobia for the children? Such great films for the whole family. Way to go!

The best part of Ra.One is when the movie includes an inside joke cameo of South India’s superstar Rajnikanth playing his character from the other big Indian sci-fi movie Robot (Enthiran). If you’ve seen Robot, you’ll know this was a special moment. It’s like the equivalent of Batman making a cameo in a Superman movie. The best line is also during this scene. Kareena Kapoor tells G.One that “this is India’s number 1 superhero” which is true. Robot is 100 times better than this movie. If you want to see a perfect sci-fi musical with amazing and creative action, watch Robot instead and skip Ra.One. This movie is still entertaining and worth a look to see what all the fuss is about, but my advise is to just buy the Telugu Blu-ray of Robot if you want to see money well spent on an awesome Indian sci-fi musical.

The Eros region-free Blu-ray is pretty good. The video quality is actually excellent with some faults here and there. I don’t know what anyone is talking about when people complain about the video quality of this blu-ray. Sometimes during dark scenes, the video seems to be covered by a light brown filter, but all other scenes look beautiful – clear, crisp, damage-free. There is great depth in faces. No DNR. The video isn’t three-dimensional but overall this is a perfect way to watch this movie. Most picky people will not notice any problems other than the ones I mentioned on this blu-ray. There aren’t any watermarks that pop up during the movie as well, which is a huge plus.

The audio isn’t as impressive as the video quality. It’s a solid audio mix, but there are times where dialogue sounds muffled. There is also a vast difference when dialogue shifts to action. I had to reach for the remote control to lower the volume many times throughout the film. Surrounds and subwoofer are very active on this Blu-ray. For a new action movie, there is no excuse for the audio to have these types of problems. Overall, the DTS-HD 5.1 Hindi is still a positive experience to watch this film. The English subtitles were very good, perfectly translating the dorky dialogue to the non-Hindi speakers.

No extras on this Blu-ray. There are English and Arabic subtitles, as well as Hindi, Telugu, and Tamil DD 5.1 audio tracks.

There is nothing really that wrong with the acting or the storyline in Ra.One and I’m happy that this movie has special effects that are equal to the ones in a Hollywood movie, but it’s a shame that the movie  is ruined by poor wire-work and awkward dialogue. The movie is worth watching, moves along very quickly, and was exciting from beginning to end. Out of the six or seven songs in the movie, there are two very catchy ones. Overall, Ra.One is a nice attempt by Bollywood and worth a look, but definitely check out Shankar’s Robot (Enthiran) instead if you want to see a much more amazing film. For some perspective, Ra.One is at least better than some Hollywood movies such as Iron Man 2 or Spy Kids 4.