Tuesday, December 5, 2023

CItadel Review: Priyanka Chopra’s action avatar is the highlight of this loose spy thriller

As an Indian audience, the first reason to watch Amazon Prime Video’s ‘Citadel’ is ‘Hamari Apni’ Priyanka Chopra’s presence in the show. But the excitement of watching an international spy thriller-action drama just because of this alone tells the temperature of the show on the entertainment thermometer!

In the last few years, in the spy stories, the poor intelligence agencies are living in tension regarding their existence more than saving the country and the world. Then it is the Impossible Mission Force with Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise), the British Secret Service of James Bond. ‘Citadel’ means fort and the story of the show begins with the collapse of this fort i.e. Secret Agency. Two top class agents of Citadel are seen tracing a target in a train for the first 15 minutes. In half the episode, you understand that in the whole show, you are going to remember all the previous spy thrillers you have seen.

Priyanka Chopra in ‘Citadel’ (Credits: Social Media)

Story i.e. tunnel in the fort of ‘Citadel’!
Of the two, Priyanka Chopra i.e. Nadia Singh (whose Singh is probably spelled Sinh for some astrological reason!) is doing the same fifty-year-old task of the female spy – ‘getting information out of the target by trapping her in the net of beauty’! But Nadia has also got a solid chance to do action and Priyanka’s fight scenes are also strong. Along with Nadia, another agent Mason Kane (Richard Madden) is also on the train. In typical spy thriller style, one of his accomplices, Bernard Orlik (Stanley Tucci), is coordinating the entire operation by sitting in the chair.

Ken and Nadia’s chemistry is as strong as ex-lovers accidentally meeting at a party. But the chance to recover from it comes soon when there is an accident of the train. Behind this whole plan is a big crime syndicate Manticore, whose boss’s name is Dahlia (Lesley Manville). There is a straight jump of 8 years in the story and now Ken is a domestic man who does not remember anything from the past. Had Kane remained like this, it could have been the plot of a great comedy drama, but the show is a spy thriller, so Bernard soon arrives to remind him of his past. And along with it a small suitcase type device has also been brought, which has the memory of the agents and the details of the agency etc. According to Bernard, both of them are now the remaining agents of Citadel.

Priyanka Chopra, Richard Madden in ‘Citadel’ (Credits: Social Media)

Whether you have seen the trailer or promo of ‘Citadel’ or not, but you can also guess that they are not the only two agents alive. Nadia has to come in the scene after all, just ‘zara der lagegi’. However, there is an attempt to create something of twist type in the story and very soon the matter becomes ‘Is Jungle Mein Hum Do Sher’. The show is international and its many seasons and spin-offs have also been planned, so it is certain that the Citadel agency is not going to end yet. But after only two episodes, the show seems too heavy to tolerate.

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The most interesting thing in spy thriller stories is that after a point the audience decodes the basic plot. All the fun remains of how what is happening on the screen is happening. This is a genre in which the makers have the scope to do the most logic-less, commonsense-disruptive acts on the screen. After getting so much liberty, at least the twist-o-turn of the story should be such that it cannot be guessed beforehand. ‘Citadel’ misses out on this. By the time the first episode is half over, the entire plan becomes clear.

The makers have released only two episodes of ‘Citadel’ this Friday and the remaining 4 episodes will be released one by one every week. But after the first two episodes, while splashing cold water on the eyes, the first thought that comes is that who will wait for the next 4 episodes?

Fans have long wanted to see Richard Madden, who became very popular with ‘Games of Thrones’, become the next James Bond. But if ‘Citadel’ is Richard’s ‘James Bond’ audition, then it is with great regret that we have to inform the fans that he will not be getting the role. They have the same one and a half expressions of confusion of ‘the world is in danger but I don’t know what to do’.

Richard Madden in ‘Citadel’ (Credits: Social Media)

It is good to see Priyanka, who got trolled for changing her accent after moving to Hollywood, in a role in which she has to speak different accents and languages. Rather, in the role of Nadia, Priyanka’s natural swag-style and ‘don’-‘aitraj’ suit the catwalk. He is fun to watch in action and his ‘don’t take it lightly’ attitude in fight scenes is solid.

Stanley tries in the role of a super-intelligent agent sitting on a chair, but his performance shows the sense that ‘I have done this many times’. Apart from these three, seeing Lesley Manville, who is seen in the fourth major role, it seems that she has been told the details of her character on WhatsApp. Her role of Dahlia also seems to have been written in a hurry on tissue paper.

Something like ‘Citadel’ is achieved by squeezing popularly worn out spy-thriller stories like Mission Impossible, Jason Bourne, James Bond, Kingsman and so on in the juicer one last time. From a spy action show, you expect path-breaking twists and action set pieces. But ‘Citadel’ feels more heart-breaking. However, it seems a bit hasty to jump to such a brutal conclusion from the first two episodes itself. But after watching one-third of the 6-episode series, you will also feel that this haste can save some time!


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