The most exciting factor about Beast when it was originally announced was the coming together of filmmaker Nelson and Vijay for the first time. After leaving a strong mark with his uniquely entertaining films such as Kolamavu Kokila and Doctor, Nelson takes a quantum leap to attempt something highly ambitious with Vijay, who is inarguably one of the biggest stars in the country. Beast, a Die Hard inspired invasion thriller, is Nelson’s attempt at going big in terms of vision and scale which is only let down by lethargic writing. Also read: Vijay opens up on entering politics: ‘If my fans want me to transform into Thalaivan, I can’t stop that change’

The film opens somewhere near Kashmir where Veeraraghavan (Vijay), a R&AW officer has been prepping for a mission for three months. At the last minute, the Indian government decides to call off the mission, but Veera decides to go ahead as per the original plan, against the orders of his own bosses. He manages to successfully execute the mission, but the outcome leaves him psychologically scarred, forcing him to quit service and return home for good. A few months later, he finds himself in the midst of a hostage situation.  He is trapped in a mall with his girlfriend as terrorists demand their leader (who was originally captured by Veera) to be released.

Nelson rose to fame with his terrific use of dark comedy in his first two films. His treatment of humour worked wonders in his movies and it even went on to define his style as a filmmaker. Unfortunately, his brand of comedy is barely present in Beast, which works more as a star vehicle aimed only to elevate Vijay’s star image. This attempt is justified with the film’s well-choreographed action sequences and exquisite visuals, but the absence of Nelson’s brand of comedy is a major dampener. Beast is still worth your time but it isn’t as wholesomely entertaining as Nelson’s earlier films. It is somewhat held together by Vijay, whose one-man show is thoroughly entertaining but isn’t enough to salvage an underwhelming film.

In bits and pieces, Beast lives up to all the pre-release hype. The action sequences, which were highly talked about much before release, stand out and Vijay kills it with his charisma in these scenes. This is Vijay’s most stylish film but it’s also one where the style supersedes substance so much that you can’t enjoy it after a point. If only the stylish treatment was strongly complemented by good writing, especially a stronger antagonist, the film wouldn’t have disappointed at places. As much as Nelson tries to stick to his storytelling template by introducing characters who aid the hero in the rescue mission just like in his last film Doctor; these aren’t as funny and memorable as they were in that film.