Full disclosure: I am not a fan of the Dhoom movies. I haven’t even the first one, and the second one is on my list of “the worst movies I have ever seen in any language.” The only thing that compelled me to watch the third one is the fact that it was filmed in Chicago, a city I visited for the first time this summer and fell in love with immediately. And indeed the parts that were filmed in Chicago do make excellent use of that city’s unique architecture, public art, and waterways.
However, the rest of the film is pretty dire. I know there are plenty of people who enjoyed the ridiculousness of the previous Dhoom movies and they will no doubt enjoy the third installment. In fact I’m the type of person who usually enjoys a ridiculous movie, or can at least appreciate it on a “so bad it’s good” level. But something about the Dhoom movies just doesn’t click with me. I just end up feeling frustrated that Yash Raj clearly puts so much money into their production and yet can’t be bothered to spring for a decent screenplay. The only person in Dhoom 3 who understands what kind of movie he’s in and behaves accordingly is Uday Chopra. Yeah, let that sink in for a minute.
There isn’t a trace of self-awareness or irony, and barely any playfulness, in Abhishek Bachchan’s performance.
At least Aamir Khan is obviously enjoying himself. Maybe a little too much. He overacts so dreadfully, especially in the second half, I was at first uncomfortable with the thought that Katrina’s character would fall for him. She has very little dialogue, however, and when she does speak it almost seems as if her character is, uh, slightly intellectually disabled as well, at which point I didn’t feel quite so uncomfortable anymore.
Over the last few years Aamir Khan has built a reputation for himself of being discerning, of being choosy about picking scripts. I wish I could say I didn’t know what he was thinking when agreeing to Dhoom 3, but I suspect it was the opportunity to shoot some action sequences and do some “Acting with a capital A.” I also wish I could say that in this case Aamir’s good instincts had deserted him, but I know plenty of people will enjoy the heck out of Dhoom 3. I’m just not one of them.