Review: ‘Money Back Guarantee’ (2023), starring Marhoom Bilal, Mirza Gohar, Shayan Khan, Kiran Malik, Mani, Jan Rambo and Mikaal Zulfiqar

April 30, 2023

by Carla Hay

Marhoom Bilal, Shayan Khan, Mikaal Zulfiqar, Kiran Malik, Jan Rambo and Mirza Gohar in “Money Back Guarantee” (Photo courtesy of Zashko Films)

“Money Back Guarantee” (2023)

Directed by Nabeel Qureshi

Urdu with subtitles

Culture Representation: Taking place in an unnamed city in Pakistan, the action comedy film “Money Back Guarantee” features a predominantly Pakistani cast (with some white people) representing the working-class, middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: Six financially desperate people conspire to commit a bank robbery, but their plans run into unexpected problems, including a power struggle between two bankers. 

Culture Audience: Money Back Guarantee” will appeal primarily to people who don’t mind watching an action comedy with a jumbled storyline and bad acting.

Mani and Shaniera Akram in “Money Back Guarantee” (Photo courtesy of Zashko Films)

“Money Back Guarantee” tries so hard to cram in several plot detours and wacky antics, it all adds up to a tangled heap of sloppy filmmaking. It’s a bizarre bank robbery caper that fumbles the comedy and the action. The story is witless, the performances are irritating, and the film editing is terrible. The movie’s mediocre Donald Trump impersonator quickly becomes a tired gimmick.

Written and directed by Faisal Qureshi, “Money Back Guarantee” (which takes place in an unnamed city in Pakistan) has a not-very-original concept of bungling amateur criminals in their quest to rob a bank. Instead of crafting a suspenseful and/or funny story, the movie gets caught up in trying to make things look weird and incoherent. Many viewers will feel completely disconnected from the story because the characters in the movie don’t act like how real human beings would act.

Six friends/acquaintances, who are having money problems and feel like they have been mistreated by society, decide to join forces and rob a powerful financial institution called Pak Bank. These would-be criminals are Munda Punjabi (played by Marhoom Bilal), Nawaz Sindhi (played by Mirza Gohar), Ilyas Kashmir (played by Shayan Khan), Sanam Baloch (played by Kiran Malik), Christian Bail (played by Jan Rambo) and Irfan Pathan (played by Mikaal Zulfiqar). They come up with various schemes to rob the bank—none of which would work in the real world.

For example, the six robbers decide to “disguise” themselves as “exterminators” and try to walk right into a bank vault together. But they don’t look like exterminators. They’re dressed entirely in black combat gear and are openly carrying guns. They look more like a tactical S.W.A.T. team. But these idiots think that because they have gas masks, they can fool people into thinking that they’re exterminators. This is what’s supposed to pass as “comedy” in this mindless movie.

Meanwhile, this robbery is being planned in the midst of a ruthless power struggle between Pak Bank president Akram (played by Wasim Akram) and a bank manager named Bux (played by Fawad Khan), who are in a campaign election against each other. Other characters in the movie include Akram’s arrogant right-hand man G.A. Muhajir (played by Mani), a somewhat ditzy reporter named Bella (played by Shaniera Akram) and Trump (played by Syed Shafaat Ali), a character who is a demanding, greedy and incompetent egomaniac in his business dealings with Pak Bank.

The movie has a lot of shouting and running around that don’t amount to anything but just dragging out the story and going off on distracting tangents. “Money Back Guarantee” also has too many stupid and over-used gags, such as characters getting lost or mistaken identities. The Trump character wears an ill-fitting blond wig and spouts a lot of corny and not-very-funny lines of dialogue.

“Money Back Guarantee” was originally supposed to be released in 2020, when Trump was president of the United States. Released in 2023, “Money Back Guarantee” just looks outdated with the Trump jokes, which don’t have as much impact in the movie, since Trump is no longer the U.S. president. The bank robbery antics and the bank executive feuding just get increasingly vapid and annoying. The entire movie is a poorly conceived mess and will test the patience of anyone who has tolerance for intentionally silly action comedies. “Money Back Guarantee” is an apt description of what viewers should get if they have the misfortune of wasting money to watch this failed attempt to be an entertaining heist movie.

Zashko Films released “Money Back Guarantee” in select U.S. cinemas and in Pakistan on April 21, 2023.

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