Jennifer Hopfinger | Chicago, IL, USA | 12/02/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"'Dhoom' is a classic cops-and-robbers movie slicked-up for modern audiences and jam-packed with speed and flash. The action dazzles, but the characters drive the story.
Workaholic police detective Jai Dixit (Abhishek Bachchan) is after a motorcycle gang of robbers in Mumbai. Jai is so determined to rid the city of the bad guys that he neglects his eye-popping wife Sweety (Rimi Sen), who wears next to nothing while doing housework in order to get his attention. But her efforts are for naught--she ends up alone in her negligee when duty calls him away. The frustrated-housewife routine and ball-and-chain jokes may be old, but they're groaningly funny nonetheless.
Because the thieves are expert motorcyclists and their bikes are high-end, souped-up machines, Jai forces Ali (Uday Chopra), a mechanic who fences stolen bikes, to help him infiltrate the world of motorcycle aficionados. Jai also needs someone who can ride as well as the thieves and Ali is the perfect man for the job. Ali is a little shady, but he's basically a good guy who wouldn't hurt a fly--and he's desperately looking for love. Chopra makes his character likeable in a pitiable sort of way, playing up his vulnerability with a cloying eagerness to please women and a smile that's too expectant and wide. His romantic hopes are repeatedly dashed--until he meets a mystery woman named Sheena (Esha Deol). When it comes to police work, Ali's a reluctant sidekick, afraid of his own shadow, the perfect foil to the tough, determined, and unemotional Jai.
Kabir (John Abraham), the leader of the motorcycle gang, and his fellow thieves are thrill-seekers--they race and steal for the rush. Kabir knows their crime spree will eventually end with their capture or deaths--which he makes clear to his gang with the cool, creepy acceptance of someone who is crazily self-destructive. A true adrenaline junky, Kabir needs to take bigger and bigger risks in order to get keep getting the same high. The death of one of the gang members in the course of a robbery leads them all to a casino in Goa for Kabir's diciest gamble yet.
The film borrows from Hollywood films 'Point Break' (1991) and 'Thelma and Louise' (1991), and those are the weakest parts of the plot. The immediately recognizable rip-offs are shoehorned into an otherwise solidly crafted story.
The film's sequel, 'Dhoom 2,' was released in 2006.
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