Inspired by David Cronenberg’s “A History of Violence” (2005), Lokesh Kanagaraj’s latest action-thriller movie “Leo” hits the theater on October 19. The story is primarily based on a peace-loving character who is being targeted by gangs. You can compare this film with Kamal Hasan’s “Vishwaroopam” (2013) as his Kathak dancer personality turned into a killing machine.
Leo is poised to have a good start at the box office but fans and critics have shown mixed reactions for the movie. Film trade business insider Manobala Vijayabalan criticized the film on Twitter/X as Vijay’s weakest film so far and claimed the end result was very disappointing. Before releasing the film, #LeoDisaster had been trending on Twitter or X. The main reason for disappointment can be summed up as the film failed to engage the audience, especially in the second half.
On the contrary, Taran Adarsh said the film is already a blockbuster and Kanagaraj has created a masterpiece. Other fans who support the film are comparing Leo with Jailer and claim Jailer only has 5-6 mass scenes whereas Leo is full of mass scenes. But is “Leo” a really good film? Let’s find it out.
“Leo” Movie Review: How good is the film?
Parthiban (Vijay) runs a small restaurant in Himachal and lives a happy life with his family. But Vijay is Thalapathy, he is not Viggo Mortenson from “A History of Violence”. Thus fans are not ready to see that Vijay is only serving coffee in his restaurants, they need some crackers every ten minutes. Director Lokesh Kanagaraj understood the fans and he introduced Parthi with a hyena action sequence, along with Gautham Menon, who is a forest ranger.
Parthiban was capable of wrestling the vicious beast alone but Lokesh just tried to throw a question to the audience, if a man who is filled with love and tenderness be a killer? Bad boys turning into good guys is not something new or unique to the films but what makes it special is how Lokesh captured Parthi’s struggle with his past and how Parthi confronts the horror. Now Parthi has a cute family but something happens in the restaurant, drags him back to the past.
But the script was very thin to make the film more compelling. With streaks of silver in his hair, Vijay looks like a middle-aged family man, not a young heartthrob. Vijay was so swift and agile in action sequences and the comic lines also worked but he definitely struggled in the pain and pressure scenes where his character must feel, pretending to be someone he isn’t.
It seems Lokesh was confused about Parthi’s character whether he is regretful or ashamed of his past or he just wants a new identity. Thus the movie turned into a regular masala movie which is full of actions and mass moments. The addition of Sanjay Dutt, Arjun Sarja, and Mysskin definitely boosted the mass reactions.
Sanjay Dutt and Arjun Sarja are playing Anthony Das and Harold Das respectively, who are Leo’s (Vijay) brothers. Sanjay Dutt could have been a more terrifying villain but seems his character was neglected to give a badass vibe. Lokesh portrays him as a merciless, superstitious man, who is a mix of growliness and screamy-ness just like a normal Tamil villain. This remark is also appropriate for Arjun’s role. Lokesh tried to create mass moments with the villains instead of focusing on their character buildup.
Female characters are highly neglected in the film. Lokesh didn’t even try to use the potential of Trisha. She was just worried in the entire film and even her role was overshadowed by a VFX Hyena. Madonna Sebastian who played the role of Elisa Das, was comparatively better but not so impressive. But what is the role of Priya Anand? Her name in the film is a subject of research.
Supporting actors like George Maryan and Mansoor Ali Khan did their job well. George Maryan, the Napoleon of Kaithi, had a special cameo in the film. Surprisingly, being part of Lokesh Cinematic Universe (LCU), George’s role was very different from Kaithi’s.
It is true Leo cannot offer that cinematic height like Kaithi and Vikram. The film doesn’t offer any confusing scene that makes the audience doubtful. But there are some positive remarks about the films present as well. Thalapathy trick with the gun and the shattering of glass to bring back Leo of the past are really whistle podu moments. If you are a die-hard fan of Vijay, you’ll definitely enjoy the action thriller with Anirudh’s background score.