Review: ‘Agent’ (2023), starring Akhil Akkineni, Mammootty, Dino Morea, Sakshi Vaidya and Vikramjeet Virk

May 5, 2023

by Carla Hay

Akhil Akkineni in “Agent” (Photo courtesy of Goldmines Telefilms)

“Agent” (2023)

Directed by Surender Reddy

Telugu with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in India and in Hungary, the action film “Agent” features a predominantly Indian cast of characters (with some African people) representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: A wannabe spy gets his wish to become an undercover agent and proceeds to do a lot of damage in his quest to capture a villain who wants to take over the world. 

Culture Audience: “Agent” will appeal primarily to people who like watching overly long and mindless action movies.

Dino Morea in “Agent” (Photo courtesy of Goldmines Telefilms)

“Agent” is an utter waste of time and an assault on viewers’ intelligence. This putrid and idiotic action film has no redeeming qualities. You know it’s bad when the movie’s producer makes a public apology for dumping this cinematic trash into the world. In his apology, Anil Sunkara (one of the movie’s producers) admits that he should have read the movie’s screenplay before signing on to finance the movie.

Written and directed by Surender Reddy, “Agent” is nowhere near the level of “it’s so bad, it’s amusing.” It’s just a non-stop bombardment of stupidity, loud violence, aggressively moronic characters, horrible acting, choppy editing and vapid musical numbers. Being stuck watching “Agent” for the movie’s unbearably long 156-minute run time is like being stuck in a quicksand sewage dump: The more you try to resist it and want to get away, the worse it gets.

The first 10 minutes of “Agent” shows a meeting where a group of Indian spies are having a meeting about group of corrupt business people who call themselves The Syndicate. One of the members of The Syndicate is Jai Kishnan who masterminded a scam where he profited from a terrorist attack that he planned. Meanwhile, The Syndicate is maintaining the safest bank that the group can find to hide the money made from the group’s evil deeds.

A ship owned by The Syndicate gets seized by the Mozambique government, which leads to lots of gun shooting and people getting killed. But surprise! All of this is really a dream coming from a wannabe spy named Rammakrishna, nicknamed Ricky (played by Akhil Akkineni), who lives somewhere in India. He wakes up this dream, which has no relevence to the overall story. It’s just a complete waste of time.

Ricky is a dimwitted lug, but the movie wants viewers to believe that he’s also a brilliant computer expert. Ricky lives at home with his father (played by Murali Sharma) in a modest home that viewers are supposed to believe has a vast and intricate computer lab that looks like a movie set. Ricky has a robotic dog named Max.

Ricky’s dream is to become the top spy for the RAW Agency, which is headed by Colonel Guruji Mahadev (played by Mammootty), who is a tough taskmaster. Ricky has applied for the RAW Agency three times and has been rejected every time. Expect to see Ricky whining a lot about these rejections. A spiteful Ricky hacks into Colonel Mahadev’s computer to get revenge.

One day, Colonel Mahadev changes his mind about Ricky, who keeps pestering him to join RAW. Colonel Mahadev says, “You are untrained, unpredictable and unprofessional. No one would believe you’re an agent.” But when you hire an inept and bungling person, don’t be surprised if that person is inept and bungling on the job.

One of the first things that Ricky inexplicably does as a RAW agent is gun down 60 people (all men) from the RAW Agency. Why? Don’t expect any logical explanations in this vile movie. This mass murder scene is just an excuse to show the ridiculous action-movie cliché of one person taking on a large group of armed opponents and winning, even though in real life the opponent would easily outnumber and defeat one person.

Ricky has been sent on a mission to capture a villain named Dharma (played by Dino Morea), who is described in the movie as “born as a human, worked like a machine, and is now a beast.” Dharma has metal decorations over and above his left eyebrow. Don’t expect an explanation for these ridiculous-looking face accessories, except for some vague implication that Dharma was part of a scientific experiment and may no longer be fully human. Dharma is a former RAW agent who has formed his own crime syndicate in Budapest, Hungary.

At any rate, there’s some nonsense about Dharma being involved in a biotechnology plot to take over the world. The plot is called Mission Rabbit, and it’s about introducing “super cells” to gain power. One of the people who does battle with Ricky is ruthless Deva (played by Vikramjeet Virk), a generic assassin who doesn’t say much. And that’s probably a good thing for Deva, because the lines of dialogue in “Agent” are relentlessly foolish.

In every stereotypical action movie, the “hero” has a love interest, who is usually pretty but treated in the movie as no more than eye candy. In the case of “Agent,” the love interest is Vidya (played by Sakshi Vaidya), who adds nothing interesting to the story. Vidya is written in every sexist possible way, as someone who doesn’t deserve to have her own identity apart from being the “love interest” of the hero.

Here’s an example of how wretched “Agent” is: When Ricky first meets Vidya, he says to her: “Shall we make babies?” She looks insulted. But then he rewords his crass pickup line to say: “Will you be the mother of my kids?” Vidya then giggles. And then Vidya and Ricky begin dating each other.

There’s really not much else to say about “Agent,” which was a huge flop in India during the movie’s opening week. There’s an audience for stupid, big-budget action flicks. But apparently, even this audience thinks that “Agent” is a major turnoff and too worthless to watch.

Goldmines Telefilms released “Agent” in select U.S. cinemas and in India on April 28, 2023.

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