“They’re here to witness my swag,” growls Indian super-spy Tiger midway through “Tiger 3,” a mostly staid but still satisfying Indian anti-terrorist thriller. Tiger is played by Salman Khan, whose square-jawed style sets the pace for the Yash Raj Spy Universe, a Marvelified Bollywood action series starring Hindi-speaking stars from the late ‘90s and early ‘00s.
In “Tiger 3,” Khan’s family-loving nationalist hero goes through the formulaic motions established by “Ek Tha Tiger” and “Tiger Zinda Hai.” This installment sees Tiger (Khan) battling his own Pakistani super-spy wife Zoya (Katrina Kaif) to thwart Pakistani terrorists from derailing Pakistan/India peace talks. The film lacks originality, sticking closely to its predecessors’ formula.
A Familiar Formula
“Tiger 3” most closely resembles “Tiger Zinda Hai,” a superior sequel and a weirdly sunny hostage thriller set in contemporary Iraq. Unfortunately, the diplomatic capers of Tiger and Zoya now seem predictable, including the movie’s introductory twist where Zoya plots against her own Prime Minister with Pakistani terrorist Aatish Rehman (Emraan Hashmi), a disgruntled ex-spy.
This time, Tiger’s mission is not just to foster good relations between two countries but also to keep his family intact. This personal angle doesn’t significantly enhance or detract from “Tiger 3”’s formulaic charms, which include Shah Rukh Khan’s extended cameo and a multitude of Hollywood-inspired story beats and clichés.
Action and Intrigue
The film begins with as much cornball swag as a live-action “G.I. Joe” cartoon. Tiger boldly undertakes a one-man rescue mission at the request of Maithili Menon (Revathi), the chief of India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) spy agency, to save Gopi Arya (Ranvir Shorey), his ex-supervisor at RAW. After the rescue, Gopi implicates Zoya as a Pakistani double agent before his demise, sparking a flashback to Zoya’s past and setting up the plot against his wife and son Junior (Sartaj Kakkar). However, the film progresses with few surprises.
The Evolution of a Franchise
“Tiger 3” feels like the fifth entry in a franchise, both for better and for worse. It features better action choreography and more storytelling polish than “Pathaan,” Shah Rukh Khan’s recent film. The guest appearance of Shah Rukh in “Tiger 3” is noteworthy, offering goofier banter and more spectacular special effects.
Salman’s portrayal benefits from being a second sequel. The filmmakers have honed their skills in making this type of movie, unlike the creators of the first film, “Ek Tha Tiger.” “Tiger 3” also excels as a buddy movie, with Kaif stealing several scenes, including a dynamic fight sequence in a Russian bathhouse.
Conclusion: A Milestone for Yash Raj Spy Movies
“Tiger 3” might be a milestone for Yash Raj Spy movies, now characterized by the same genericism that marks Marvel’s blockbusters. It could be a fluke, as the series is set to expand with the integration of characters from “War” in upcoming sequels.
The film has its moments in action and musical scenes, appealing to a holiday crowd. However, others might prefer to wait until it becomes available on a popular streaming service, a more surprising move than anything in Salman’s latest film.
Tiger 3 Review
“Tiger 3,” the latest in the Yash Raj Spy Universe, offers predictable yet entertaining action with Salman Khan reprising his role as Tiger. The film sticks to its formulaic roots but excels in action choreography and star-studded cameos.