Skip to content

Tamil Movie Review 101: Rajinikanth’s Jailer 2023, Better But Not Great

Nelson Dilipkumar Rajinikanth Tamil Movie Jailer 2023

After watching Vijay starring in Beast Tamil movie written & directed by Nelson Dilipkumar and then Kamal Haasan starring Vikram written & directed by Lokesh Kanagaraj, it was like day and night when it came to quality, storyline and action. It was no doubt that Beast was the dumbest movie for the year 2022. Then we had Rajinikanth starring Jailer written & directed by the same Nelson Dilipkumar. So what could possibly go wrong, right? Poster source: IMDB

Read these first:-

Movie Synopsis

The Jailer storyline is nothing new if one sees the storyline which is basically a revenge story turns into a rescue story.

Muthuvel Pandian (Rajinikanth) is a retired police officer who lives in Kodambakkam with his family. Muthuvel’s son, ACP Arjun, is investigating Varman, an eccentric Malayali gangster who smuggles idols of gods and sells them to buyers overseas, operating from his base of operations in Arakkonam. Arjun confronts Varman’s henchman, Seenu, and demands him about the whereabouts of Varman.

As Arjun gets closer to nabbing Varman, he suddenly goes missing and the police department spreads word that he may have committed suicide to cover up that he was probably killed by Varman. Grieving the loss of his son and partly blaming himself for raising him to be honest and fearless, Muthuvel goes after Seenu and murders him, disposing of the body with the help of Vimal, a local taxi driver.

Varman’s men make an attempt on Muthuvel’s grandson, Rithvik, despite Muthuvel convincing Varman to leave him and his family alone. Enraged, Muthuvel decides to fight back and visits Narasimha, a reformed criminal living in Mandya, who loans him four of his sharpshooters.

With the help of Narasimha’s men, Muthuvel blackmails and humiliates Varman, who then has a Bihari gangster, Kamdev, send people to kill Muthuvel and his family at his home, only for them to be gunned down.

After discovering Varman’s target to be Muthuvel, Kamdev reveals to him that Muthuvel was once the ruthless and charismatic jailer of Tihar prison, who was also known as “Tiger” Muthuvel Pandian. He disciplined the criminals harshly but also helped them reform, gaining a massive network of allies, including Kamdev.

Muthuvel corners Varman in his base, but he reveals to him that Arjun is still alive and threatens to kill him. Both of them ultimately arrive at a compromise: Varman will release Arjun in return for a famous antique crown that is currently secure in a temple in Mangalagiri, Andhra Pradesh.

(Source: Wikipedia)

If you relook at the key components in Jailer, you can find similar items as in Vikram namely a retired policeman or agent, an honest son who is a policeman but dies when in the thick of an investigation and there is a danger to his grandson by the same criminals. It seemed to be another Vikram but with Rajinikanth instead of Kamal Haasan in the lead.

YouTube player


Anirudh’s Hukum song is a fine tribute to the great Rajinikanth himself rather on the movie, Jailer and runs with the same intensity as the background music that he composed in Vikram. The other famous song from this movie, Kaavaalaa is nothing fantastic other than seeing Tamannaah’s dance moves. 

Good Points of the Movie

Let’s look at the good points of Rajinikanth starring Jailer which probably explains why it is now 3rd highest grossing movie of the year 2023.

First has to be Rajinikanth’s incredible persona which remained intact despite all these years and his age passing a solid 72 years old. There is a special aura on how he walks, looks, smiles and speaks which is why he is no doubt the Superstar. His scenes with Yogi Babu despite the seriousness in the background are hilarious.

Second, it is clear that Nelson has learned his lessons (to some point) from his mistakes in Beast by tightening the storyline a bit better in Jailer. No more confined to one place like a shopping mall or a bank in Ajith’s Thunivu which allows more characters & expansion of the storyline. Some of the story points were more logical this time but there are still some dumb scenes by Nelson.

Third is Anirudh’s background score and songs which did not fail to keep the action scenes energised and on high ground. However, after Vikram which I rate his better compositions backed by the right scenes, the background music for the Jailer seems to be another take of the same Vikram background music.

Rajinikanth Jailer

The man is 72 years old but he has not aged and still looks impressive on the big screen. He has a certain charm that draws attention from all walks of life and we are looking forward to watching him in the thick of the action in many more movies in the future. Image source: The Hindu

Bad Points of the Movie

First were the unnecessary scenes in the second half where Muthuvel Pandian plans to hijack a rare priceless statue from a temple controlled by a committee and one of the committee members is fan crazy about a movie actress.

The story drags on on this as Muthuvel Pandian plans with unnecessary twists & plots just to hijack a fake statute that they already set up to replace the original statute. Nelson could have just spent 30 minutes or so to plot this and continue with the next scenes. But then again, Nelson could have added these scenes just to include a song number with Tamannaah in it.

The fake battle between Muthuvel Pandian & his gang and the special armed escort that is guarding the original priceless statute is another unnecessary storyline and does nothing but waste the viewer’s time. So what if they managed to swap the original with the fake? Didn’t the smart criminal check it and know that it is a fake that has a small camera built in?

Second is the point that the Blue Shirt Maran highlighted in his review of the movie – Muthuvel Pandian deals with criminals with some contacts from his days as a jailer but these contacts are nothing but hardcore criminals. So why this is considered acceptable when they are also committing crimes and are no different from the criminals that Muthuvel Pandian is fighting?

This is a big difference with Vikram where the team led by Vikram did not join forces with any criminals and went after all the key criminals. As Vikram would say in the movie, it is not a revenge story, it is about cleaning society from the criminals.

Third is the plot twist where the mastermind is Muthuvel Pandian’s own son who was alleged to be killed first and then was revealed to be alive but captured. It does not make any sense actually. This is because his son already knows Muthuvel Pandian’s background as an ex-jailer and his skills which the rest of the family are not aware of. So how does he expect to outfox the fox? Putting his son as the mastermind is not a good idea. Nelson should have just followed Vikram’s storyline where the son is dead and the father takes revenge.

Fourth is the number of characters which is obvious that was added just to gain viewership & get more ticket sales. Just think of the big stars other than Rajinikanth who had made cameo appearances – Mohanlal, Shiva Rajkumar and Jackie Shroff who mostly like agreed to appear just to be in the same movie as Rajinikanth. It is a waste of space & time in this movie which could have been used for more interesting scenes or if Nelson had run out of ideas, then shortened it.

YouTube player


Beast taught us not to believe that the final outcome of the movie will be great based on the movie trailer or the movie music video. So one had to reserve their judgement even though the trailer looked rather polished. Just like Beast, the final outcome of Jailer was not as impressive as the trailer to some extent. 

Final Say

After the negative review of Beast, a lot of commenters had expected that Rajinikanth’s Jailer to be delayed or shelved together. During the launch of Jailer, Rajinikanth in his speech admitted that there was a great concern that a negative review of the Beast movie was raised and Rajinikanth was asked if he wanted to drop the Jailer project.

However, Rajinikanth decided to proceed with the movie and this is where the controversy started – he said that the poor movie was not the fault of the directors but due to poor casting. So is he blaming Vijay for influencing the storyline and leaving little for Nelson to salvage the movie?

Anyway, Jailer was a better movie indeed but the majority of it, thanks to Rajinikanth for bringing a certain charm to the movie. It is watchable perhaps for one round of viewing but it is not as great as Vikram for one to watch over & over again and discover something interesting. Considering how well Lokesh Kanagaraj’s movies have been, it is not a surprise that Rajinikanth will probably be acting in Lokesh Kanagaraj’s movie codenamed “Thalaivar 171”.

Nelson still has a long way to go if we expect to see his movies on par with directors like Lokesh Kanagaraj, Mysskin or even Mari Selvaraj who last wrote & brilliantly directed the excellent movie, Maamannan starring Vadivelu and Udhayanidhi Stalin.

1 thought on “Tamil Movie Review 101: Rajinikanth’s Jailer 2023, Better But Not Great”

  1. Pingback: Tamil Movie Review 101: Leo 2023 - Rushed, Nothing Fantastic

Please Leave Your Thoughts on the Post