Serviceable Indian actioner "Tezz" takes auds on a runaway train ride through Blighty, with Japanese and Hollywood connections.

Serviceable Indian actioner “Tezz” takes auds on a runaway train ride through Blighty, with Japanese and Hollywood connections. Given the title means “speedy” in Hindi, it’s no surprise this Bollywood pic shamelessly cribs from Jan De Bont’s 1994 “Speed,” as well as Japanese 1975 trailblazer “The Bullet Train.” Prolific Hindi helmer Priyadarshan (“Billu”) garnishes the proceedings with extended and exciting multi-vehicle chases, but the pic was outdistanced by “The Avengers” and local romantic comedy “Vicky Donor.” Local B.O. hasn’t picked up much steam, either.

Four years after being deported from England, disgruntled illegal immigrant Aakaash (Ajay Devgn) returns to London. Abetted by similarly mistreated former colleagues Adil (Zayed Khan) and Megha (Sameera Reddy), Aakaash buys some explosives from a Cockney gangster (Dominic Power) and plants them on a train bound for Scotland.

Just after railway network coordinator Sanjay Raina (Boman Irani) puts his young daughter (Avika Gor) on the same train, he receives a phone call from Aakaash, demanding money in exchange for not blowing up the train. A slip of the tongue tips off Sanjay that the bomber is a Hindi speaker, so the cops recall recently retired terrorist expert Arjun Khanna (Anil Kapoor) to handle the situation. If the train’s speed drops below 37 mph, the bomb will detonate; accordingly, it maintains a manageable 43 mph, giving cops, railway personnel and the bombers 12 hours to reach an agreement.

The father-daughter subplot is lackluster and poorly realized, while the bombing saga feels as secondhand as it sounds. Where the helmer really takes charge is in the two frenetic, extended chase scenes in which the bomber’s accomplices make off with the ransom money, which involve a motorcycle, cars, parkour and jet skis. In these sequences, Priyadarshan compensates for lack of credibility with sheer energetic verve.

Irani and Kapoor give solid, workmanlike perfs, well aware that they’re there to fill in the lulls between stunts and effects. Doing his best to appear moody and mysterious, Devgn looks lost as the bomber whose backstory makes little sense.

HD lensing is below the ever-rising bar of digital visual quality, and pales beside similarly budgeted Bollywood fare. CGI used for the train crash is under-rendered.

Pic’s lone dance number, featuring Mallika Sherawat strutting alongside a chorus-line of vampires in a nightclub where Aakaash and his accomplices rendezvous, looks as if it were stitched in from another film entirely. Other tech credits are acceptable.

Tezz

India

Production

An Eros Intl. release of a Bharat Shah presentation in association with Venus Worldwide Entertainment of a United 7 Entertainment production. (International sales: Eros Intl., Mumbai.) Produced by Ratan Jain. Executive producer, Sanchita Chatterjee. Co-producer, Bharat Thakral. Directed by Priyadarshan. Screenplay, Robin Bhatt, Aditya Dhar.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen, HD), Thiru S. Appun; editor, T.S. Suresh; music, Sandeep Chowta, Sajid-Wajid; art director, Sabu Cyril; costume designers, Navin Shetty, Shaahid Aamir; sound (Dolby Surround 7.1, Dolby Digital), Kaamod Kharade; action directors, Gareth Milne, Peter Pedero. Reviewed at Cinema 2, Event Cinemas Parramatta, Sydney, April 27, 2012. Running time: 122 MIN. (I: 60 MIN., II: 62 MIN.)

With

Anil Kapoor, Ajay Devgn, Boman Irani, Kangna Ranaut, Zayed Khan, Mallika Sherawat, Avika Gor, Dominic Power, Sameera Reddy. (Hindi, English dialogue)

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