“Tiger 3” most closely resembles “Tiger Zinda Hai,” a superior sequel and a weirdly sunny hostage thriller set in contemporary Iraq. Unfortunately, Tiger and Zoya’s diplomatic capers now seem predictable, right down to this new movie’s introductory twist: Zoya’s plotting against her own Prime Minister with Pakistani terrorist Aatish Rehman (Emraan Hashmi), a disgruntled ex-spy.
This time, Tiger’s not just trying to foster good relations between two countries but also trying to keep his family intact. That superficially personal twist doesn’t greatly enhance or subtract from “Tiger 3”’s box-checking charms, including Shah Rukh Khan’s extended cameo appearance and a heap of Hollywood-cribbed story beats and clichés.
“Tiger 3” begins with as much cornball swag as a live-action “G.I. Joe” cartoon. Tiger boldly mounts a one-man rescue mission at the personal request of Maithili Menon (Revathi), the no-nonsense chief of India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) spy agency. Tiger succeeds in his impossible-seeming mission and rescues Gopi Arya (Ranvir Shorey), his ex-supervisor at RAW. In exchange, Gopi implicates Zoya as a Pakistani double agent right before he expires, seconds after he and Tiger return to India.
Then there’s a flashback to Zoya’s past, which does and doesn’t explain Gopi’s accusation. Next, an unremarkable musical number where Tiger wonders, through song, if he can trust Zoya. Then, a bunch more narrative set-up and throat-clearing, all to prop up the plot against his wife and his son Junior (Sartaj Kakkar). There are very few surprises along the way, though, at one point, Salman Khan negligibly disguises himself with a red hippie sweatband and a shaggy paste-on beard. Tiger dramatically removes his beard before he fights his wife. Then they make up and plan to foil Rehman together.
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