Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The official story is that RRR stands for Rise Roar Revolt, a promise the letters deliver. Yet the repetition was originally a working title that stood for the initials of stars Ram Charan, Rama Rao (a.k.a. Jr NTR), and director Rajamouli. The trio of talent has captivated audiences across the world. RRR debuted in theaters back on March 25 and became a massive success in India. It also saw box office in other countries, particularly in the U.S., where it earned a tidy sum of $13.6 million making it the 2nd highest-grossing Indian film in the U.S. 2017’s Baahubali 2: The Conclusion — also helmed by S. S. Rajamouliis — is still #1. RRR started streaming on Netflix on May 20 and briefly entered the Top 10.

RRR is a fictional tale set in 1920s colonial India based on a pair of real-life Indian revolutionaries, Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) and Komaram Bheem (N. T. Rama Rao Jr.). There’s no evidence that these guys ever met, but the account imagines what if they did. The two became pals and join forces against the rule of the British Crown. Now I have to emphasize — this is a dazzling fabrication. As such, the central duo is granted the powers of superhero human beings. Meanwhile, the villains are simply pure evil. Governor Scott Buxton (Ray Stevenson) and his wife Catherine (Alison Doody) are completely irredeemable scoundrels. The screenplay isn’t going to win any awards for subtlety, but I did come to accept this exaggeration as part of its charm. It did make me chuckle quite a bit, although I’m not sure it was intentional.

Where the movie asserts itself is in setpieces that are pure extravaganza. The action scenes are gobsmackingly good. The fights highlight hyper-stylized choreography that elevate fantasy and eschew reality. Just try and catch your breath. One action sequence follows another. The demonstrations of physical strength refuse to obey the laws of physics. In one Bheem picks up a motorcycle and casually swings it around his head knocking people out. In another, Raju picks up a tiger and easily heaves it hundreds of feet toward his enemies. Even if I gave more detail, I could never do justice to these shows of overtly hyperbolic style. They must be seen to be believed.

The narrative also incorporates a rousing score from M. M. Keeravanisong. Like a Greek chorus commenting on the events, the lyrics of the background songs often foreshadow future developments. The athleticism exhibited in the musical interludes is just as acrobatic as the combat. One dance sequence in particular — “Naatu Naatu” — is a jaw-dropping production number. Here the two chums dance side by side in a complicated routine against an officer who mocks them for not knowing traditional dances like salsa and flamenco. Raju and Bheem’s close friendship is underscored in this winning display.

Given the musical numbers, some may confuse this for being a Bollywood movie. It is not. RRR comes from South India where Telugu is spoken, so it’s considered a Tollywood film. Bollywood movies are in the Hindi dialect. On Netflix, right now the only language track option is a Hindi dub (with subtitles in various languages including English). Netflix is where the vast majority of U.S. viewers have access. If you’re a purist and demand the original Telugu track, you’ll need a subscription to ZEE5 at this time — a relatively new Indian streaming service.

RRR packs a wallop. These buddies will go back and forth as enemies, then friends, and then foes before becoming comrades again. Bheem’s mission begins when tasked to rescue a kidnapped girl from the British government. Raju is a committed police officer working for the British Raj determined to catch Bheem. The title card doesn’t even appear until 40 minutes into the film. So a word of caution, it is over 3 hours long. Buckle up for an extended fable of various tributaries and particulars. However, it’s never boring. Far from it. This is the captivating chronicle of a bromance that’s easy to enjoy. The saga has ample sincerity and heart to supplement the awe-inspiring spectacle. It’s a lot of fun.


One Response to “RRR”

  1. Glad I saw this over 3 days. A movie over 3 hours is just too much. It was good. At the beginning of the film, we are notified that ALL animals are computerized. I’m glad, cause they looked so fake. The music, dancing and action was all pretty fun. I liked the back and forth friendship. It’s worth a viewing. 3 1/2 ⭐️


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