After the Chief Minister ( Visu) turns down their request to sanction the sale of banned medicines, Allwyn Martin (Milind) and GKM (Suman) hire Alex Pandian ( Karthi), a small-time criminal to kidnap the CM's daughter (Anushka). Alex, who is only after money, succeeds in the task but when he comes to know the truth, takes matters in his own hands
: Right in the opening scene, director Suraaj makes his intentions clear as to what to expect from Alex Pandian. We dive midway into a chase scene — the heroine, who is fleeing from goons, gets on to a moving train but just before she (and we) can breathe a sigh of relief, she is caught by a thug who has somehow managed to board the train. So, what happens next? The answer is quite obvious to anyone who has seen a handful of "commercial" films. Yes, the hero pops up miraculously to fight for her. Here, Alex Pandian actually materializes out of thin air — one second you are seeing an empty railway track and the next, lo, you have this hero is running halfway along it. If you are the kind of viewer who doesn't care much for such bothersome aspects, you'll find Alex Pandian mildly entertaining.
It is actually a pretty good opening sequence if you can ignore logic and the over-the-top stunts. Especially because it creates a certain amount of intrigue as to who these two characters are and why they are being chased and by whom. Sadly, Suraaj takes the easy (read lazy) way out and gives us a plot that is merely an excuse to set up a few funny sequences (courtesy Santhanam), peppy but ultimately forgettable songs and poorly-choreographed action set pieces.
After the opening scene, the action moves to Nanjanadu, a hill station where Alex ingrains himself with a family. The over-protective brother (Santhanam) of this family zealously tries to prevent Alex from getting too close to his three sisters, often ending up with injuries. As he did with Karthi's previous films Siruthai and Saguni, Santhanam carries this portion and ensures that the laughs keep coming, though there are times when this segment feels derivative and overlong. Almost the entire first half revolves around this but we good humouredly don't mind it as every time the action shifts to the main plot or a sub plot involving a local politician, the movie turns dull.
And, Suraaj doesn't convincingly integrate this segment to the main plot and the end result is that the second half feels like a different film. We are given a backstory that we are only too familiar with and the action shifts to a remote jungle where Anushka after being kidnapped initially tries to escape and later inexplicably, as all our heroines, falls for her abductor. The saving grace is a cameo by Mano Bala who gets caught along with her. And once he too leaves the scene, you can't help but look at your watch and wonder when the film will come to a close.
One major reason is that both Karthi's and Anushka's performances seem too laidback that we never really believe they are in grave danger from the villains, who only burn up tonnes of fuel with their cavalry of four-wheelers and hardly pose a serious challenge to the hero. Even when he is hanging upside down in the villains' den, we know Alex Pandian will beat them to pulp and this happens in the most matter-of-fact manner.
A well-made masala film can be great entertainment but Alex Pandian, while not really a bad film or a badly-made one, often feels strictly functional. Yes, the comedy sequences work and save the film to an extent, but considering its minimal ambitions, a sense of deja vu and disappointment as you leave the theatre is inescapable.
: Old wine in new bottle? Nah, this is more like the leftover wine in a half-drunk glass.