May 12, 2013

Movie Review: Go Goa Gone

I love being surprised by a movie. I love being caught off guard by something of unexpected quality. Going into something blindly and finding something awesome or classic or entertaining is just a great feeling. It helps explain my reaction to Go Goa Gone, the latest Bollywood import from Eros International to hit local theaters. Now, I have enjoyed going to the Indian imports when they play, they may never be my favorite type of film, but they offer a different cinematic experience. As for this one, it was different in a great many ways. Mostly for the good.

I had no idea what to expect from this movie going in. I had not seen a trailer, I did not know who was in it, I hadn't even seem a poster. All I knew was that it was a Bollywood release and that it was at the local cineplex. It is rare that I go into a movie this blindly. In a way, I am glad I did, it all helped with the experience. I am not going to lie, I had a blast with this movie, it was a big surprise and a lot of fun. I would not necessarily call it a classic, but it is one I can see myself revisiting.

There are a couple of big differences from other Bollywood films I have seen. For one, the movie is less than two hours long, I am used to them being no less than two and a half hours long, usually pushing three. Also, there are no of song and dance numbers. I am used to at least two or three of these. There is music and a couple of extended scenes set to music, but nothing drastically different than what we see in Hollywood movies.

As the movie opens we are introduced to three roommates, Hardik (Kunal Khemu), Luv (Vir Das), and Bunny (Anand Tiwari). The first two are pot smoking slackers, while Bunny is the responsible one of the group. The story is set off when Hardik gets caught in a compromising position at work and is fired, Luv is dumped by his cheating girlfriend, and Bunny gets sent to Goa to give a presentation. The two slackers see this as a chance to getaway and recharge their batteries.

So, off they go to Goa. While there, Luv meets Luna (Pooja Gupta) who tells them of an underground rave being organized by the Russian Mob. The excited friends head off to the party on a secluded island. It is on the island they first see Boris (Saif Ali Kahn of Agent Vinod and Race 2), the Russian in charge. At the party a new drug is being introduced, but the trio do not have the money to try it.

The following morning, the three wake up from the night of drunken debauchery and begin to see some very strange things. Hardik sees a man attacked by some people stumbling about. He pays it no mid until they meet a crazed Russian man who is sagely attacked by bloody, growling people. At first, they have no idea what is going on, they don't know what zombies are. It seems to be a side effect of the drug the Russians were introducing. What follows is a funny fight for survival as our group of friends team with Boris and his bodyguard to survive the island and get away before they become dinner for the dead.

I have to be honest, I was not expecting a stoner, comedy, zombie movie out of Bollywood. It feels like a mixture of House of the Dead and Shawn of the Dead. As a matter of fact, there a lot of references to the Edgar Wright comedy (watch closely and you may catch a glimpse of a Shawn zombie). Take those zombie influences and filter them through more Bollywood approach and you have a movie that is uniquely familiar.

This is by no means a classic movie, but it is one that has a good understanding of what it wants to do. It is not particularly bloody, but it has enough to get the intent across. It is a broad film that will play well with a variety of audiences and seems to have been made with international distribution intent.

There are some clever gags throughout, including a few jokes around Hardik's name. They do not shy away from cultural differences. Seriously, I could not have predicted how much fun this movie is. It is a uniquely familiar film and definitely worth seeing.


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