Right from the word go, one thing is very clear in Alex Pandiyan - its commercialism. Director Suraaj's script is typical for an action entertainer in Kollywood, and we have seen numerous such films in the past. Drawing close to the lines of Linguswamy's Paiyya, it tells the story of Karthi who seems to have a vengeful past but leads a normal life. But overall, the film appears to be a collection of chase and stunt sequences, which deliver one message - no one, can beat the hero.
Santhanam, like in other movies he's appearing in is truly the savior of Alex Pandiyan. His dialogues filled with ridicule and twisted meanings in the first half and partly in the second, are the highlights of the movie and make the audience cheer more than even for Karthi himself. The actors share good chemistry on screen and lighten-up the moment even when they are given only a few minutes between sequences portraying three villains in the movie. Santhanam continues to be at his best when he is given freedom and his usual timing is brilliant enough to even shake the most bored of the audience into a laugh.
Anushka, who was expected to play the lead gets more of a side role and is rarely seen in the first half. In the second, the romance appears quite late, despite the presence of a few songs and her role forcibly changes gear all of the sudden when she falls in love. In fact, leaving out a few sequences, Anushka needs rescuing in most parts of the film, whether it may be when everybody's running on a train, riding in an Omni van or when the hero is tied up to death. One would have liked to seen more importance to her role considering her acting proves and effort shown in her last film Thaandavam.
Why do ambitious Tolly-Kolly producers delude themselves into thinking that the Telugu audiences are so much starved of entertainment that they will lap up inferior version of everything that is inferior about Telugu cinema? Do we deserve a film where Karthi indulges in doubles entendres in the presence of Santhanam's three sisters, even as the hapless brother shamelessly disgraces his suggestive sisters through dishonorable language?
What is that Karthi has got in him that our Telugu heroes don't have in them? For heaven's sake, why don't they realize that Tollywood has enough number of heroes who can flamboyantly indulge in cheap humour better than their Kolly-Molly-Sandal counterparts? Even an NTR could not have the BO registers ringing despite all the 'double meaning' comedy in Dammu. While some directors are yet to move ahead, the audience certainly have.
'Bad Boy' (it could have been 'Bad Bava') is perhaps the most appropriate title with a hero like Alex Pandu. The whole of first half is for those who like to see three homely chicks swooning at the sight of Karthi. As he plays with them games that apparently border on distasteful romance, Santhanam keeps preventing the bad 'bava' from crossing the limits, facing inane reverses in the process. In one scene, he has to stop no less a motherly figure than his mother from doing massage to Karthi! Shudder to think of this: he even asks Karthi, "Do you think my house is a massage centre?"
When he is not romancing the sisters and victimizing the brother, Karthi breaks into a song on the beauty of relationships. Yes, even devils quote scriptures.
In the midst of Santhanam dreaming of a nightmarish song where we see Karthi making improbably romantic expressions in the presence of the three chicks and other second-rate scenes (some of them involving a foul-smelling, bald-headed sidekick against whom racist jokes are generously cracked), we are introduced to a suave and mega-rich criminal (Milind Soman) who is on a hunt for Karthi and Anushka. Meanwhile, there takes place a political murder and Karthi, in an unrelated development, develops rivalry with the murderer's brother.
Anushka has no dialogues in the first half and in the two scenes where she is seen, she has an improbably frightened expression on her face, as she is chased by some unknown goons. The pre-interval chasing-cum-shooting scene is so thoroughly illogical that it defies the physical laws which our brilliant directors are yet to think of. There makes an entry, moments before a non-interval interval bang, Suman (yes, our very own good boy). The first half ends on a low note with Karhi saying what has been very obvious: I have snatched away Anushka from them.
Devi Sri Prasad's music, which didn't make too much of an impact with the soundtrack release is little notice with the action extravaganza taking place on the main stage. The songs are positioned oddly and appear all of the sudden changing the mood of the situation. However, his efforts with the BGMs are better and capture the heat of the scene bringing emotions to the center of focus for audience. Again, his formula is also simple and he feeds the growing masala factor that increases again and again.
Other characters in the film like Milind Soman, Suman, Prathap Pothen and even Visu have little to play in the plot. However, despite coming from different backgrounds, the villains all suddenly become gangsters and powerful fighters who can come close but not beat Karthi completely. Manobala, who appears for a short duration gets some impact with his comedy. National Award winning editors Praveen and Srikanth don't get much scope to show their skills as film continually offers fights, chases and humour alternatively. But they do deserve a pat on the back for showcasing Santhanam.
Verdict: Over-the-top comedy, an overdoze of action and large doses of masala.