Runway 34 Review: Ajay Devgn, Amitabh Bachchan & Rakul Preet Singh's mediocre aviation drama crash lands
Runway 34 can be a one-time watch but we promise there are better aviation dramas on streaming platforms.
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Amitabh Bachchan, Rakul Preet Singh, Boman Irani
Director: Ajay Devgn
In 2016, Tom Hanks brought to life the true story of Sully who made an emergency landing in the middle of the Hudson River. Sully, directed by Clint Eastwood, made for an invigorating story as he fought with the post-incident trauma of the heroic incident. Built on a similar premise is Ajay Devgn's Runway 34 which manages to achieve exhilarating moments, but unfortunately in bits and pieces.
The actor-director wastes no time in establishing the cool and experienced pilot that he is. With supreme confidence as a way of life, Ajay's character Captain Vikrant Khanna not-so-subtly slides into a conversation with his daughter that he was called "Mr Photographic Memory" in school. Runway 34 follows linear storytelling with multiple characters being introduced well into the first half.
Runway 34's trailer made it amply clear what parts the lead characters play in the film. Apart from Ajay, the other two main characters are Rakul Preet Singh, who plays co-pilot Tanya Albuquerque and Amitabh Bachchan as Narayan Vedant the investigator. The writers etch interesting characters on the doomed flight - from a YouTuber to an aviation journalist and even a sick senior citizen.
With Runway 34's linear storytelling, no scene comes as a total surprise or a moment of what is going to happen next. Ajay Devgn and his dialogue writers Sandeep Kewlani and Aamil Keeyan Khan build up the film's pace with Capt. Khanna partying and returning to fly hundreds of passengers the following evening. It is Aseem Bajaj's cinematography and Amar Mohile's background music that keep the screenplay flashy, interesting and sharp.
In the second half, it is Amitabh and Ajay's interrogation that stands out as the highlight but does not entirely captivate you. The film's strength lies in its VFX and the visually striking scenes that Devgn manages to create with a decent story. However, this does not forgive the fact that Runway 34 has its fair share of silly moments. There's a scene in the film when Ajay Devgn is being interrogated and his job as a pilot of flying hundreds of people is being compared to that of a delivery person. Also, why is Rakul's pilot character named Tanya Albuquerque? Despite a couple of dialogues spent over the pronunciation of her name, the makers never clarify it.
Ajay Devgn spends the first half of the film almost entirely dedicating it to the flight accident. The in-flight scenes are without a doubt the most captivating, thanks to the combination of VFX and the background music. In the acting department, too, Runway 34 doesn't necessarily blow you away. There's nothing to write more about Ajay's usual charm, Amitabh Bachchan's intimidating personality and Rakul Preet Singh's decent performance. Boman Irani, a stellar actor, also features in the film and tries to dish out a gripping performance with a poorly written character.
Runway 34 can be a one-time watch but there are better aviation dramas you may want to explore.