Sport, action, and drama are all thrown together in this Puri Jagannadh and Vijay Deverakonda picture, but nothing really sticks out.
Cast: Vijay Deverakonda, Ananya Panday, Mike Tyson, Ramya Krishnan, Ronit Roy
Jagannath wants to give us the archetypal underdog sports narrative, but he never takes the time to make us care about the protagonist. He speeds through the script’s beats to the point where they become meaningless. Liger’s father was a famous fighter, but we’ve never cared much for him. Liger and his coach (Ronit Roy) only ever seem to fall back on tired clichés, so we never get a sense of their chemistry. For whatever reason, Liger chooses to ignore martial arts instruction altogether, despite the fact that he seems to be a natural at them all.
On the other hand, the writing in ‘Liger’ is quite simplistic. Without a compelling antagonist, the second act is utterly forgettable. Unimpressive MMA sequences (the stunts by Kecha and Andy Long are simply basic) make you question whether or not the filmmakers were aware that they were making a pan-Indian blockbuster.
The acting is inconsistent at best. The measured and sincere Vijay Deverakonda. To his credit, he acted the part of an impaired player. Beautifully, he has transformed his body. Ananya Panday has the appearance of a self-centred, stereotypically urbanite young woman.
The fight between Liger and Mike Tyson, which has been frequently described, does have its moments, but it comes at the very end of a poorly written plot, making its impact little. Tyson is portrayed as Liger’s hero in the fictional role he plays, but the exposure of his true colours at the film’s end is meant to be humorously sarcastic.
The movie’s failure to impress audiences throughout India was a national disgrace. The main character admits at the film’s beginning that he is not a very good storyteller, but he promises to give it a go anyhow. It may have been a warning not to see the movie. Happily, the ending of Liger does not leave any possibility for a continuation.