MERSAL by Thenandal Films hit the screens after a lot of prerelease confusion. This is Atlee’s third film and his back to back with Vijay after the hugely successful Theri. Vijay desperately needs a super hit after the minor hiccup in Bhairava.

Atlee doesn’t venture beyond Kollywood for inspirations. He adapts movies that he has grown up watching and punctuates them dramatically that shall suit the present generation. His previous two films are known testimonials for this. Mersal too does the same, perhaps he has taken his formulae a little over the fence and far too granted. The storyline of Mersal would make a school kid yawn.

If Atlee delivered in treatment in his previous films, here he is aided with a huge budget that he consolidates through presentation, but as always messes up in writing. It is a commercial pot boiler and does not try to pretend otherwise, unfortunately it fails to entertain. The focus on the hero is so much that the story telling takes a back seat. If the first half was barely manageable the second half is very boring to say the least. The flashback portion is almost half the length of a film and puts you to sleep. Interesting moments are in bits and pieces and in the end it’s a wreck with blood and gore everywhere and a message that keeps coming to you in circles.

Mersal has and had to bank on Vijay alone, for the simple fact that the movie was made with him in mind and to shore up his status as a huge box office star. With his contemporaries and juniors breathing down his neck he has his work cut out. Unfortunately we have the same Vijay we have seen for the last decade. In Mersal there is the magician Vijay, the doctor Vijay, the wrestler Vijay and you would not need more than a minute to spot 3 differences between them. There is hardly any dissimilarity between the two Vijays despite having a 5 year age difference. They look like identical twins and even act and behave like one. The father Vijay has a slightly greying beard and an unnatural wig. Samantha and Kajal Agarwal can be conveniently forgotten while Nithya Menon gets a decent role. SJ Suryah has taken his villain avtars seriously and makes a mark while Satyaraj is wasted in a silly role. Sadly Vadivelu is literally non existent.

Supported by a lavish budget cinematographer GK Vishnu does his best to augment the lackluster screenplay with some smooth camera work. ARR is OK in the back ground score but the songs of Mersal save for “Alaporan” do not last. Proper editing could have trimmed this movie into a bearable one, while dialogues do not pass muster. Direction by Atlee has nothing new to offer and remains standard.

Even Vijay might find it tough to save this Mersal. His diehard fans might lap it up like they have done for years but for others Mersal might be too much to handle.