Review: ‘Jailer’ (2023), starring Rajinikanth

August 15, 2023

by Carla Hay

Rajinikanth in “Jailer” (Photo courtesy of Sun Pictures)

“Jailer” (2023)

Directed by Nelson Dilipkumar

Tamil with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in Chennai, India, the action film “Jailer” has an all-Indian cast of characters representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: A retired police office goes after a criminal who caused harm to his son.

Culture Audience: “Jailer” will appeal primarily to people who want to watch a formulaic and stale action movie.

Vinayakan in “Jailer” (Photo courtesy of Sun Pictures)

“Jailer” is yet more of the same type of long-winded revenge action tale with fake-looking stunts, mediocre-to-bad acting, and an absurd plot that doesn’t look believable. How many more movies does this world need about a retiree who becomes a vigilante? Apparently, for the filmmakers of “Jailer,” there’s not enough of these types of movies.

Written and directed by Nelson Dilipkumar, “Jailer” (which takes place in Chennai, India) follows the same old tired formula of retirement-age man who’s out to avenge something that’s happened to a loved one. In the case of “Jailer,” the vigilante on the loose is retired police officer “Tiger” Muthuvel Pandian (played by Rajinikanth), who goes on his rampage in ridiculous and over-the-top ways.

Tiger’s son Arjun Pandia (played by Vasanth Ravi) is an assistant police commissioner who was investigating a gang leader named Varman (played by Vinayakan), when Arjun suddenly disappeared. Arjun’s colleagues tell Tiger that Arjun probably went somewhere to commit suicide. Tiger doesn’t believe any of it, so he sets out to find the truth.

The rest of this 168-minute movie is a dreary and mindless slog of predictable things that Tiger does to get his form of justice. There is absolutely no originality in the movie, which has unimpressive acting. “Jailer” is perhaps an appropriate term for the movie, since anyone stuck watching it until the very end might feel like it’s being imprisoned in a cinematic hell.

Sun Pictures released “Jailer” in select U.S. cinemas and in India on August 11, 2023.

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