Project Ghazi (Review): Poor execution fails what could have been a good science fiction film

Movie Name: Project Ghazi

Release Date: March 29, 2019

Director: Nadir Shah

Review by: Momina Mindeel 

Sherdil released on the 22nd of March. We, at Galaxy Lollywood, had issues with its all-over-the-place plot but we still predicted that it’d do well on the box office because well, patriotism sells. The prediction turned out to be true as the film has approximately grossed 6 crores over the first week of its release. Then released Project Ghazi (yesterday) and even though, it shows nationalism in a positive light without any hatred for any country, I’ll still never forgive them for meddling with my cognitive abilities. And oh! call it a prediction or my sixth sense, Project Ghazi will, most probably, not do well at the box office either despite all the patriotism, it is trying to sell.

From extremely poor editing, below the average execution, incoherent plot to infinitely poorly developed characters, the only thing Project Ghazi can be lauded for is daring to venture into an unexplored genre in Pakistan; science fiction.

What the film is about

This heading is honestly ironical, to begin with for even I don’t know what the film is about. The film revolves around a team of scientists (headed by Talat Hussain back in the day) working in unison with the soldiers from Pakistan Army to produce a new breed of advanced soldiers. The project is called (well, you guessed it) Project Ghazi.

Everything is going well until suddenly, a group of men with weird masks and unclear motives (you keep waiting for them to reveal their motives until the end but it just never happens, there is literally no context to why they’re doing what they are doing) attempt to seize the project. Syra Shahroz, in unison with two distinguished soldiers (that’d be Sheheryar Munawar and Humayun Saeed), tries to stop them, in the most underwhelming of ways.

Acting

Forgive me for saying this but the only thing Sheheryar Munawar’s character has going for himself in Project Ghazi is his looks. While some argue that this is done on purpose for his character is supposed to be robotic, I still think it could have been executed better. The performances by the rest of the main cast are underwhelming too. Even veteran actors such as Talat Hussain do nothing to salvage the shipwreck that Project Ghazi is.

However, I’ll admit that Humayun Saeed and Syra Shahroz, in particular, look really good on screen. Their acting constitutes one of the good parts of the film so let’s just give credit where it’s due.

As for the character development, every character is poorly developed; even the relationship amongst characters is hap-hazard and does not bring out any feelings whatsoever in the audience. Talat Hussain plays the role of Sheheryar’s uncle who suddenly betrays his nephew, towards the end of the film. Now, one would expect to feel something about this betrayal but that never happens because guess what, their relationship isn’t really developed to that point, to begin with. Same goes for every other relationship in the movie. Sheheryar and Syra flirt here and there too but nothing becomes of it.

Moreover, given it is supposed to be an action-packed, science fiction film, the action sequences, too, are underwhelming with no element of suspense whatsoever. Everything is just happening somehow and you sit there wondering how the movie is just so much potential gone to waste.

Music, art direction and more

The movie does not have any songs which isn’t always necessarily a bad thing but honestly, Project Ghazi could have done with a one, good song (or maybe I am being too ambitious). There is this weird, suspenseful background music in most of the scenes which a) does not fit with the narrative b) is distracting as hell and c) is not even pleasing to hear.

The only thing the film has going for itself is the art direction. The movie presents a very nice visual experience (according to Pakistani standards). The laboratories where Syra – the scientist is working on God knows what look aesthetically appealing, the robots and similar gadget-y stuff (don’t blame me for not knowing what they are called for the movie makers don’t either) look incredible too. The film has a lot of (wannabee) Hollywood action film feels which is commendable but also a little out of the place.

Verdict

Project Ghazi‘s art direction is a manifestation of the fact that the film could have been a good Pakistani science fiction film if the director/writer had put in some effort to come up with a coherent plot and a better execution of it. I’d give the film 2/5 stars for trying to venture into a not-so-explored genre.

But honestly, till when are we expected to give Pakistani cinema the points for ‘at least trying’?

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