Junglee Movie Review: It is unlikely to enhance Chuck Russell’s reputation, who has successes like The MaskThe Scorpion King.

The male protagonist of Hollywood director Chuck Russell’s first Bollywood flick, Junglee, is a brawny veterinarian blessed with extraordinary abilities. We first see him counselling a young couple whose marriage has hit a trough owing to a jealous pet macaw that cannot stand any show of intimacy between them. Later that day, on the way back from work, the doctor demonstrates dazzling kalaripayattu moves to deliver instant comeuppance to a bunch of miscreants that he catches in the act of torturing a stray dog. It’s all in a day’s work for a man with a natural jungle streak.

Having put on show his all-round skills in the first few minutes of the film, the hero proceeds to the Odisha elephant sanctuary that he grew up in – it is another matter that Junglee has been filmed primarily in Thailand, which yields some undeniably pretty visuals but does little for authenticity. The script goes missing in the jungle. No matter how hard the incredibly supple Vidyut Jammwal tries to whip up excitement with well-choreographed action sequences, Junglee is a whole load of bull.

The film is set in a crassly cosmetic world where nothing, not even the wonderful four-legged creatures sourced from the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang or the female mahout Shankara (played by Bollywood first-timer Pooja Sawant, always fetching, never a hair out of place), rings true.

A journo and animal rights activist (debutante Asha Bhat) is literally a babe in the woods. She lands up in the sanctuary to interview its celebrated owner and stops at nothing to let the world know that she is completely out of place in this universe. To the model-turned-actress’ credit, she does a good job of disguising her discomfiture.

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