2 hour 39 mins | Action - Thriller | 18-10-2023
Cast - Thalapathy Vijay, Trisha, Sanjay Dutt, Arjun Sarja, Gautam Menon, Priya Anand, Madoanna Sebastian and others
Director - Lokesh Kanagaraj
Producer - S. S. Lalit Kumar, Jagadish Palanisamy
Banner - Seven Screen Studio
Music - Anirudh Ravichander
After Khaidi and Vikram’s success, all eyes were on Lokesh’s next film and the expectations turned bigger than anticipated with Thalapathy Vijay being the lead of it. LEO teaser was bloody sweet and the speculations began if it belongs to LCU or not. The suspense prevailed and today it will be cleared with the movie’s release. The trailer appears to be having no link to Lokesh’s Cinematic Universe, but it looked like an action-packed gangster drama with star actors like Sanjay Dutt and Arjun Sarja doing the villainy. Let us see if LEO is really the badass like he was shown in the trailers. Here is the review from the US Premieres.
What Is It About?
An animal rescuer and coffee shop owner Parthiban (Vijay), his wife Sathya (Trisha), and their kids live in Himachal Pradesh. A burglary at his coffee shop forces him to shoot and kill five dangerous men. The case becomes popular and hits the front page of newspapers. Notorious and dangerous gangsters Harold Das (Arjun) and his brother Antony Das (Sanjay Dutt) see it and come after Parthiban thinking he is LEO das (Vijay). What is the link between LEO and Parthiban? Who is Harold and Antony? The answers to these questions form the story of LEO.
Thalapathy Vijay is in his usual form. He excels in the role of Parthiban/LEO. He did really well in the action sequences like always and his overall performance is flawless. Trisha did her part well and she also looked good.
Arjun as Harold Das is stylish. Due to the brief flashback, the connection establishment between LEO and Harold was not shown well. Arjun does his part well in the climax too. Sanjay Dutt is fine as Antony Das in limited presence but again his character is not impactful due to lack of proper establishment.
Gautam Menon, Madonna Sebastian, and Priya Anand are all alright in their respective roles. George Maryan entertains with minimal presence as Napoleon and Khaidi references.
LEO has a gripping start until intermission and it is a treat to watch those visuals and screenplay. The cinematography is excellent and so is editing. VFX is weak in a few parts. The stunts and action sequences are well-choreographed. The highlight of LEO and also the savior to a major extent is background music by Anirudh.
Though the writing part in the second half of LEO struggles, Lokesh’s execution tries to make the audience sit through. Since it is from LCU the obvious comparison comes up between Vikram and LEO, with the former having an edge with the presence of Rolex in it and LEO having none like him.
The trailer of LEO hinted at a story of an innocent man being cornered just for looking like a notorious gangster from the past. The story sticks to what was revealed in the trailer but with twists added here and there in Loki style. While LEO definitely gives a good experience in many aspects, the main plot appears overstretched with one single thread.
LEO starts with a very interesting premise and the landing episodes stand by the promise made by the director. The first ten minutes are not to be missed for sure due to the high-octane Hyena episode.
The first half of LEO stands out with the making and writing as well. The director Lokesh Kanagaraj etched the action episodes so slick and Anirudh moved it to the next level with his extraordinary background music. There are many action episodes in the first half and it never gives a boring moment. The weak visual effects distract us from enjoying the action scenes in some parts.
Coming to the second half, the narrative hits a hindering block in the name of a flashback episode. Though it is brief, the generic second half remains a setback for LEO. The LEO character could have been more powerful and it somehow appeared not-so-strong and deep. It does not get better after the flashback part because the single-point tale of Parthiban denying being LEO continues all along. The second half of LEO is a big let down.
Apart from the enthralling action episodes and background music, LEO has its own highs without much effort. The reason is the links and hints from the LCU. The director placed the characters from Khaidi and Vikram perfectly well and the climax call is the ultimate of all. Each and every reference from the LCU got the whistles and screams in the theater.
Overall, had the second half been better LEO would have joined the elite list of Khaidi and Vikram. Nevertheless, LEO is worth watching with a few reservations and is sure to give a satisfying theatrical experience but it is not worth the hype it got due to the LCU connection.
Bottomline: No Match To Hype, But Worth A Watch