In a film like 'Hitlist', when you look at it, nothing in particular goes wrong. Every bullet is fired right, every blow delivered in time. The action is all in place as well. It's the monotony that kills. The almost unbelievable recreation of sequences that we have seen in innumerable action flicks of yore is what ruins the spirit beyond repair in 'Hitlist'.
For his directorial debut Bala has chosen a story that could not even be called formulaic. It's more than a formula, in that it throws together those different elements of hardcore action films that we have become accustomed to over the years, without ever trying to make a difference.
The police officer (Bala) is as brooding as ever, grows a beard and never, ever smiles except in flashback. He is named Vikram Rathore for some strange reason and had once been in love. You expect his wife to have been bumped off by some baddie, but looks like their hands are clean, at least in this case. She passes away on the delivery table.
Ever since, Vikram has spent his life in and outside police stations, in suspension and out of it, and has become infamous for his wayward ways and more importantly, his unkempt beard. And it's then that a murder maniac who has the traits of a serial killer wreaks havoc on the city, killing a cop every now and then.
And it's thus that the film gains its name 'Hitlist', since the killer has on his list eight police men. The man has a sob story to tell of his own, which is another tale that is as old as the sea. And by the time he reveals it, you realize that it's time to go back home.
The film doesn't really end there, and in an unimaginably stretched out action sequence involving the cop and the villain, it goes on and on. We know where it's all eventually leading to, especially since a new love has just about sprouted in the cop's mind. The lady in distress is Avantika (Aishwarya Devan), who is rescued from hell by the officer.
The film has been slickly shot, and Madhu Neelakantan makes sure that visually the film retains a freshness throughout. But very rarely do the visuals help a film rise above a very middling script. And 'Hitlist' is no exception.
Bala is quite convincing as the police officer who has been through much misery, but as a director he makes the fatal mistake of having depended on a story that looks and sounds like an unexciting rehash of those action flicks that we have grown up with. The rest of the cast is uncharismatic and do not come up with anything spectacular.
The shambling plot in 'Hitlist' sees to it that the film remains a tedious shoot-them-all flick. It's very unlikely that you might get a few kicks out of it.