Pathaan (2023) Review

Essential Viewing


Pathaan is the fourth film in the YRF Spy Universe Series. It delivers crazy over the top action, slow motion action poses and good-looking women!

Plot: A “RAW” field agent named Pathaan (played by Shah Rukh Khan, or SRK) must stop the evil leader of Outfit X (played by John Abraham) along for the ride is the beautiful Deepika Padukone.

Review: I review all movies using my homebrewed SPACE system (Story, Pacing, Artistry, Characters, Enjoyment) each category gets a score between 0-2, which leads to a final score out 10. I compare each movie to itself and the genre its in. So, I am grading this film against other Bollywood action films and not against something like Die Hard, or The Raid.

STORY – I would say the story is a standard spy action thriller. It has breaking into vaults, an ex-agent villain with a grudge against the government, double crosses, lots of locations, tons of action scenes, and heroes that are invincible and may as well be superheroes! The plot is better than average though as we learn about each character’s motivation and there is a sense of urgency towards the end. We also get so many tropes that it almost feels like you’re getting two movies for the price of one! I applaud the film makers sense of fun and excitement. They know they are making an action movie and they lean into it, instead of trying to deconstruct it. SCORE: 1.5

PACING – The movie is 2.5 hours, which is short for a Bollywood film. There is only one song in the film as to not turn off general audiences. That said I was never bored during this film as the twists kept coming and no scene dragged on longer than it needed to and there was a lot of action. A lot more than I was used to seeing in one of these films, so kudos to the film makers for that! SCORE: 1.5

ARTISTRY – As all Bollywood movies go (generally) the artistry is amazing. The music is pretty good and the action is well shot and everything is clear. No shaky-cam and there’s a lot of daytime action. This movie gets the adrenaline pumping. There are some crazy inventive action sequences that Bollywood is known for. Realism is basically abandoned for the most part. Which is also a standard for Bollywood. SO that is NOT a negative. We have a scene with two helicopters in a tug of war, we have a scene where both hero and villain are wearing Rocketeer style jetpacks with wings and fighting in the air, we have a train sequence and MORE! At one point I was starting to think what else were they going to throw into this film! Plus, I would count Deepika as part of the artistry! She IS ON FIRE in this movie! SCORE: 2.

CHARACTERS – SRK is amazing as always. He’s a badass in this movie and certainly doesn’t look like he’s 57 years old. Deepika is great too (they have co-starred in a few films and work well together) and she is not just eye candy. She gets into the action also. John Abraham is a great villain and he owns every scene he’s in (he comes complete with slow motion walking and lots of crazy dialogue). The characters really elevate this story and there is sense of nobility to them. We get all their backstories, so they are more than just 2 dimensional. They are fighting for the country and beliefs, and it does rub off on you. A few don’t make it and you feel sad about it! SCORE: 2.

ENJOYMENT – Look, I obviously loved this movie for all its crazy action and glamour. I hope more people will give some of these Bollywood movies a chance! Bollywood action films have come a long way. They have modern technology but 80’s mentality. So, you end up getting crazy over the top action, invincible heroes, and pretty good effects. To me, these movies give us what is missing in modern action films…FUN! Score: 2.

Final Score: 9/10