In a scene in Baaghi 3, the dreaded terrorist Abu Jalal Gaza asks his men who has invaded his checkpost. Is it America, Russia, the Mossad, who? It’s our very own Tiger Shroff, who in this film is taking on an entire country – Syria.
I suppose the stakes had to be raised. The first film was a mashup of the Telugu film Varsham, The Karate Kid and The Raid: Redemption. Tiger single-handedly took on an entire building filled with killers. The second was a remake of the Telugu film Kshanam. In the 16-minute-long climax,
Tiger destroyed the villain and his army. Baaghi 3 is an adaptation of the 2012 Tamil film Vettai. In that film, the two brothers went up against the local gangsters. But Tiger needs heftier opposition so director Ahmed Khan, who has also designed the action, decided to pit him against the war-torn country.
Of course, the film has no real interest in Syria or its people. Baaghi 3 was extensively shot in Serbia, which fills in for Syria. The devastated landscape is mostly used to make Tiger look even more heroic. Is that problematic? Yes. But this film also advocates encounter killings and casually shows a father whipping a child with a belt.
Director Ahmed Khan seems to be enthralled by his leading man. At one point, the action actually pauses so Tiger Shroff can pose on top of smashed helicopters, very much the savior of the world
This isn’t cinema operating on any logic, not even its own. Baaghi 3 is ostensibly part of a franchise but there is nothing tying the three films together except Tiger Shroff playing a character named Ronnie who is gifted with superhuman strength and agility.
Ahmed tries to strengthen the link by self-referencing dialogue from his earlier films – so at one point, Jackie Shroff playing Tiger’s dad says: Jo torture lag raha hai woh uska warm up hai. Which you might recognize as Tiger’s signature line from Baaghi 2. And in another, Tiger delivers his own dialogue from Heropanti saying about heropanti – kya karoon, sabko aati nahi, meri jaati nahi. It’s all very meta.