Thalapathy Vijay's latest film Leo has created unprecedented hype ever since its announcement. Hotshot director Lokesh Kanagaraj has joined hands with Vijay for the second time after Master. Amidst speculations about whether Leo is a part of the Lokesh Cinematic Universe along with other blockbusters, Kaithi and Vikram, the film is surrounded by huge hype. The posters and trailer added more to the anticipation. Anirudh's BGM and Lokesh's narrative style promised a high-octane actioner. Lalit Kumar has produced the film under Seven Screen Studio while Sithara Entertainment has brought the film in Telugu. The OTT partner is Netflix and the film is scheduled to stream on OTT in four weeks from its release date. Let's get into the review.
Leo, The story begins in a hilly town Theog in Himachal Pradesh where Parthiban (Vijay) runs a coffee shop leading a peaceful life with his wife Sathya (Trisha) along with their two kids. One day when Parthi eliminates a dreadful gang to save his daughter, he is all over the news. This exposure of Parthi brings him more problems.
Many gangs from the south headed towards Himachal Pradesh. While some want Parthi dead the other gang headed by Anthony Dad (Sanjay Dutt) and Harold Das (Arjun) wants him to accept that he is Leo. Who is Leo? What is his connection with Parthi? How did he fight with enemies and protect his family from the story?
Vijay did a different character from his usual massy roles. He underplayed his role effortlessly but still succeeded in instigating tension among the audience that he was about to explode at any time like a time bomb. He looks calm but becomes ferocious when his family is in trouble. Though his characterization starts off promising, it later becomes flat due to poor writing. Leo becomes just another role in his career.
Trisha gets ample screen time with a meaty role in the first half. She did her role perfectly looking good on screen. But in the later part, she is not seen much time. Her character also seems left midway. In ruthless villain roles, Sandy Master leaves a mark with his psychotic behavior in killing people mercilessly.
Sanjay Dutt as Anthony Das and Arjun as Harold Das carried their roles naturally. Their screen presence itself did the work for most of the time. Gautam Menon is apt as a good cop and Priya Anand as his wife doesn't have any importance. So are the roles of Madonna Sebastian and Anurag Kashyap
Lokesh Kanagaraj, in the title card itself, revealed that he is inspired by the Hollywood film, ' The History Of Violence'. The film is almost a remake of the film blended with our typical 'Baasha' kind of screenplay. The film begins with a captivating sequence with a hyena on the prowl. The entire first half is neatly handled with an engaging screenplay and pulsating background score. The family drama and emotions made the audience invest in the proceedings. The film gets peaked towards the interval raising much curiosity about the second half.
Lokesh fumbled in the second half. It begins interestingly with Anthony Das's full-fledged entry with an action sequence. But, once the much-awaited flashback starts unfolding, the film starts crumbling and it never stops. After building a terrific graph for the lead in the first half and when everyone is waiting for its explosion, the flashback completely messed up much hyped Leo character. The father, sister, and brother angle seems forced and it didn't work in any manner. It seems shocking how Lokesh comes up with such a poor plot point after conceiving some brilliant sequences till then.
Lokesh Kanagaraj failed to continue his masterwork with a bland second half of Leo. There is nothing but a killing spree without any emotion or even logic that goes for a toss. The poor VFX in a car chase in the second half is a downer. Though the attempts and hints that dropped in the first half about linking Leo to LCU excite, the final actual addition seems forced.
Anirudh who has been leading action films these days with his outstanding BGM did his work in the first half but the poor second half didn't give him any chance to make it work. The cinematography by Manoj Paramahamsa looks fine and impresses during night shots. The film looks visually appealing. Editing by Philomin Raj could have been better, especially during the second half.
After delivering blockbusters Kaithi and Vikram with innovative ideas, Lokesh Kanagaraj has a huge burden to deliver again with Leo. Though he manages to keep the momentum going in the first half, he has completely lost it in the second half with a poorly written backstory. It is highly doubtful that even Leo could fit in the much-hyped LCU. Going by these, Cine Josh goes with a 2.25 rating for LEO.