RRR is not just the ultimate Indian action film, it’s one of the best action films of the year overall.
RRR (2022) Review By Mark McPherson
Published on June 16, 2022
Rating 5 /5
If some action films seem to slog and meander, RRR is the chiseled and refined action picture that many of the genre’s devoted crave. That may seem strange to say for an Indian film with a three-hour running time but don’t let that length fool you. This is a fast-paced and endlessly thrilling picture stuffed to the brim with fights, chases, war, tragedy, romance, betrayal, and even musical numbers. It’s a film that has everything and ties it all together brilliantly.
The story centers around the two revolutionaries of Komaram Bheem and Alluri Sitarama Raju in 1920s India. In a country being devoured by English colonizers, these two men find themselves being pitted against each other. Bheem is a Gond tribal leader who aims to fight the Nizam of Hyderabad for the liberation of Hyderabad State. Driven by revenge for his people and to rescue a girl kidnapped against her will, Bheem strikes back against the British with great fury. At the same time, Raju works alongside the British and goes undercover to bring Bheem to his knees and squash the revolution. However, Raju may not be ready for the empathy he shares with Bheem. The two enemies soon become allies in a daring fight for India’s independence.
That short description of the plot doesn’t even begin to divulge the mesmerizing energy on screen. One of the first sequences with Raju features him plunging into a crowd of protestors to bring in one particular protester who committed an offense. It’s a tense action sequence that showcases just how daring and violent he can be. His first encounter with Bheem is a fantastic scene of saving a boy amid a truck explosion, where the two work together using a burning flag to save the day. Their locking of hands and sealing a bond is a brilliant way to lead into the film’s titles, even if it occurs much further into the film.
Bheem is also pretty adorable for one of their first missions of infiltrating the British rulers by attracting the attention of the charming Jenny. Despite Jenny not being as familiar with Telugu, Raju helps push him towards her in an adorable way. With his little head ticks and charming bashfulness, Bheem and Raju work their way into a party. They encounter some racism from the English but immediately upstage them with a powerful dance-off scene of amazing moves. Did such revolutionaries ever engage in such musical battles? Who cares! This musical number rules and it’s thankfully not the only one.
There’s an undeniable level of wild imagination at play in this historical epic. Just look at the sequence where Bheem crashes a party by smashing a truck through a wall and leading a fight with a burst of animals. Tigers and gazelles assault the soldiers while Bheem wields fire and leads the charge against those who have wronged his tribe. The animals are obviously CGI but you can’t convince me the slow-motion shot of all of them leaping out of a burning truck with Bheem leading isn’t a cool shot.
It’s nearly impossible to talk about this film without just gushing about how perfectly staged every scene appears. By the time the film gets to the climax with motorcycles and horses, it’s unbelievably exciting watching the duo work together. How much planning and practice must’ve gone into the sequence where the two combine like Voltron and take on hordes of soldiers I couldn’t say. But you can tell there’s a lot of work put into all this that makes nearly every moment of combat and music a sight to behold.
RRR is not just the ultimate Indian action film, it’s one of the best action films of the year overall. The two leads of N. T. Rama Rao Jr. and Ram Charan are wonderfully cast and succeed in every scene. The editing and direction are so crisp that those three hours just fly by. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better film this year that feels as tight, thrilling, and is just a genuine threat of a film that warrants multiple rewatches. Few films ever make one feel so alive, making RRR an absolute must-watch picture of 2022.
Mark has been a professional film critic for over five years and a film lover all his life.