December 27, 2022
by Carla Hay
Directed by A. Vinoth Kumar
Tamil with subtitles
Culture Representation: Taking place in an unnamed city in India, the action film “Laththi” features an Indian cast of characters representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.
Culture Clash: A cop battles an army of villains and ends up trapped with his 10-year-old son in a high-rise building under construction.
Culture Audience: “Laththi” will appeal primarily to people who are interested in watching a ludicrous, overly long action movie that is repetitive and relentlessly stupid.
“Laththi” is nothing but a long-winded rehash of several other forgettable action movies with ridiculous fight scenes, terrible acting and no originality. And with a total running time of 144 minutes, “Laththi” (also known as “Laththi Charge”) drags on for too long, considering the movie’s very thin plot that could easily fit into a film that’s 30 minutes or less. What viewers get in “Laththi” is a bombastic overload of poorly staged action scenes that are supposed to show gritty realism but look like something out of a hard-to-believe, shoddy fantasy movie. Worst of all, “Laththi” is a movie that takes itself too seriously, considering how trashy and moronic it is.
Directed by A. Vinoth Kumar and written by Pon Parthiban, “Laththi” is yet another movie about a cop being the lone fighter against an army of villains who have him trapped somewhere. And to raise the stakes for the police officer—cliché alert—he has a loved one who is put in this dangerous situation too. Before “Laththi” gets to that point, there’s a bloated section of the movie that shows how he ended up in this mess. None of the characters in the movie has a real personality, and there’s no real suspense.
The protagonist of “Laththi” (which takes in an unnamed city in India) is a constable named Muruganantham (played by Vishal), who is as generic as generic can be. Muruganantham has a happy family life with his wife Kavitha (played by Sunaina) and their 10-year-old son Rasu (played by Master Lirish Raghav), who goes to a school called St. Michael’s Academy. Rasu is proud of his father being a constable, and he begs Muruganantham to visit him in school while wearing his constable uniform. Muruganantham humbly puts off accommodating this request.
One night, a woman named Pavithra (played by Misha Ghoshal) is physically harassed on the street by a young man. She goes to the police station to file a harassment complaint. Even though Muruganantham tells Pavithra that technically, she has to wait until the morning to file the complaint, he feels sympathy for her and lets her file the complaint that night. Not long after filing the complaint, Pavitrha is viciously attacked, and she dies in a hospital.
The public is outraged by what happened to Pavithra, and protests are staged outside the police station. The police are under pressure to find the culprit or culprits who killed Pavithra. Their chief suspect is the man whom she identified as the harasser in her complaint. His name is Vellai (played by by Ramana), who happens to be the son of a ruthless and wealthy crime boss named Sura (played by Sunny PN).
Vellai is taken into custody at the police station for an interrogation, where he ends up alone in a room with Muruganantham. Vellai’s head has been covered with a sack, so Vellai can’t see anything. Muruganantham brutally beats up Vellai to try to get Vellai to confess to causing Pavithra’s death. Vellai doesn’t see the police officer who’s attacking him, but Muruganantham gets a phone call during this beatdown. The ringtone on Muruganantham’s phone is of the song “Guna,” which is a detail that Vellai does not forget.
Vellai ends up in a hospital and inexplicably has a yellow plastic bag over his face during his recovery. Apparently, the “Laththi” filmmakers want viewers to think that using a yellow plastic bag is better than using bandages to treat facial wounds. While in the hospital, there’s a predictable scene of an infuriated Sura and his cronies trying to get Vellai to remember anything about the cop who attacked him. Vellai is barely coherent, much like most of this movie.
After Vellai is discharged from the hospital, there are scenes where he drives around with his fellow thugs while trying to look for the cop who beat him up. And Vellai is stll wearing that yellow plastic bag over his head during the search. Meanwhile, Muruganantham gets suspended from his job and is then reinstated in a demoted position of being a traffic cop.
During Vellai’s search for the constable who beat him up, Vellai—still wearing the yellow plastic bag over his head—sees Muruganantham on a motorbike on the road. Vellai insists that Muruganantham is the one who attacked him, even though people in his entourage doubt that this traffic cop would be the one to have the authority to do an interrogation. And just when Vellai and his cronies are about to drive away, during an idiotic scene where Muruganantham has stopped on his motorbike on the road for a very contrived period of time, Muruganantham gets a phone call, and Vellai hears the ringtone.
Most of the action scenes featured in the trailer for “Laththi” don’t happen until the last third of the movie, when Muruganantham is trapped with Rasu in an isolated high-rise building that’s under construction. It’s just scene after scene of Muruganantham unrealistically taking on numerous armed thugs who could easily kill him when they surround him with their weapons, but they don’t kill him, because we all know how this movie is going to end. The only thing that gets really gets killed from “Laththi” are some of the brain cells of any viewers who have the misfortune of watching all of this mind-numbing garbage.
Red Giant Movies released “Laththi” in select U.S. cinemas and in India on December 22, 2022.