'Mark Antony' has been released simultaneously in all major South Indian languages today (September 15). It will be released in Hindi next Friday. What is the film about? Is it worth a watch? Let's find out:
The story begins in the year 1995. Mark (Vishal) is a mechanic who sees a gangster named Jackie Marthanda (SJ Suryah) as his doting guardian. For some reason, Mark hates his late father Antony (Vishal, again). By a quirk of fate, Mark chances upon a time-travel telephone that helps him reconnect with his late mother (Abhinaya) and father who lived in 1975.
Masks fall off and the true villains of the piece come crawling out of the woodworks. How does all this affect Mark? What happens to his destiny? What transpires with respect to his blossoming romance with Ramya (Ritu Varma)? How does he deal with the ambitious Madhan Marthanda (SJ Suryah, again), the son of Jackie? That's what the story is about.
This is a two-actor film. Vishal and SJ Suryah get an equal amount of screentime. The younger Vishal is meek and naive, while the elder Vishal is a domineering character. The actor delivers the most impactful performance since 'Abhimanyudu'.
Suryah easily outperforms his colleague. As a Machiavellian gangster and a comical Madhan, he is truly a delight to watch in the comedy scenes. If Suryah starts playing negative roles in Telugu films, it will be a great relief. 'Mark Antony' gives him ample scope to excel.
Ritu Varma is average. The 'Pelli Choopulu' actress doesn't get to do much. Selvaraghavan is unrecognizable in the role of a scientist. Sunil as Ekambaram is not impactful either. Abhinaya is good, while Nizhalgal Ravi in a cameo and Redin Kingsley as Mark's sidekick are good. Vishnu Priya Gandhi as Silk Smitha is seen in a cringe-y cameo.
GV Prakash Kumar's music is entertaining when it doesn't go the Kollywoodian way by a distance. Abinandhan Ramanujam's cinematography is bright although distracting at times because of the not-so-wow VFX work. Vijay Velukutty's editing is not novel. The shifting timelines could have been done better. The action choreography by Peter Hein, Dhilip Subbarayan, Kanal Kannan, and Dinesh Subbarayan is consistent.
The arc of Mark's character is such that we find the climax surprising.
Two primary characters want to change the past. Their motives have been established well by the director.
The element of religiosity and divine power through the Veerabhadra Swamy episode.
The back and forth nature of the screenplay has been delivered without causing any confusion.
The premise and the healthy marriage of fantasy and gangsterism elements.
The quality of dubbing in the Telugu version is off.
The film is too noisy at times.
There is at least one forced song.
The overdose of the eccentric at the cost of intelligent story-telling.
If you compare the movie's logical consistency with Surya's '24', it falls flat.
The characterizations could have been graver.
'Mark Antony' is noisy and too boisterous at times. However, its storyline and execution are largely engaging.
Rating: 2.75 / 5