This offering from India is just about as must-see as you can get if you're an action-thriller movie buff. Yup, it's three hours long (I can already picture the short-attention-span generation cringing) but, Holy Tamale, it is worth it! This flick is laden with scenes of mayhem, carnage, police hijinks and political intrigue; strewn with random acts of bravery, sweet moments of newly-found romance and calls to honor and duty; and, yes, every now and then, a Bollywood song & dance number will ambush you, dear viewer. Even the few "slow" scenes (ie: scenes where no bullets are currently flying) are well done, serving the purpose of generating and then building up tension until the next time all heck breaks loose again (which is never too far off).
Now the plot: DCP Anant Srivastav (Amitabh Bachchan, whose face looks like an eroded cliffside) is a police officer in the late stages of his career who is handpicked to head a team escorting a hardened terrorist from Chadanghbad to Mumbai, wherein said terrorist will stand trial. Srivastav undertakes this mission in an attempt to salvage what he feels has thus far been a failed career. Assigned with him are two officers: Senior Inspector Shekhar Sachdev (Akshay Kumar), a disillusioned yet savvy, street-smart officer not averse to taking bribes; and Sub Inspector Ashwin Gupte (Tushaar Kapoor), a young idealistic rookie, very much averse to taking bribes. These three and a few additional policemen undertake a journey that will tax them to the utmost, make them doubt and challenge each other, as well as force each one to face his own personal inner demons. Needless to say, not everyone makes it to the end.
Part of what drives this rollicking movie is the quality of the acting herein. The cast does a very commendable job in the midst of all the gunfire, car chases, one-on-one punchfests... Two actors that particularly stand out are Amitabh Bachchan and Akshay Kumar. This duo, Bachchan as the elderly leader (reeking of that certain "My God, we must do the right thing" cologne) bent on seeking justice and Kumar as the amoral officer ("so tell me again why we must do the right thing, 'cause, you know, they're really shooting at us now") more intent on survival than idealogy, chew the scenery with crackling gusto. These cats were emoting! Ajay Devgan as the omnipresent, ever-smoking, sunglassed villain is cloaked with an adequate aura of menace. Aishwarya Rai, I feel, is underused (this is, after all, an action guy's movie) but, nevertheless, does credit to her underdeveloped role and makes the most of it. Yeah, the dialogue is oft times too melodramatic but because the characters are given time for their backstories to be developed, there's an engaging sense of heft and weight to them that garners empathy from the viewer, to the point where the actors' frequent over-the-top lines become somehow believable. Trust me, three invested hours will make you feel for and with the characters.
If you get a chance, check this one out. Gawd, the twists and turns in this one! Khakee is a fairly slick, glossy thriller, with great production values (although, every now and then, they do go overboard with some garish fight scene sound effects, reminiscent of various 1970s kung-fu flicks). Else, this film looks very good. I liken it to a cinematic boulder rolling down a hill, inexorably gaining more and more momentum until it slams to an explosive, crashing halt. It's must-see, baby.