Director R. T. Neason's "Jilla" reduces Mohanlal into being a narcissistic caricature with a God complex who converses only in punch dialogues. His Sivan is a feared Don in Madurai who makes his victims perform a version of sepukku where they are supposed to slit their throat instead. He adopts his driver's son after the boy's father gets killed by a policeman. The son Sakthi (Vijay) grows up into a classic porikki, becoming Sivan's right hand man. They are pretty much the same kind of unsympathetic people like Simmakkal Ravi, the villain in "Pandianadu". But the film glorifies them and tries to lend them some dignity when there is none to be deserved.
In one scene, Sakthi notices a chasing car as he is driving somewhere, with a fast asleep Sivan sitting next to him. After getting down and beating them up, as is expected of him, he throws an object at the fleeing car which hits the driver who loses control and plunges the vehicle down a hill killing everyone on board. Take a moment to think about it. At least 8 people must have died. The casual attitude with which Sakthi informs Sivan about this incident is where "Jilla" totally nukes the fridge. It's as if mass and logic are inversely related (they are not.)
Conditioned to never disobey his father, Sakthi goes about enforcing the family's criminal activities without a second thought. I am guessing playing a good-natured person is not fashionable anymore because every major actor wants to play a negative-ish role, with a transformation happening somewhere around the interval. The problem is they don't even go the distance with their shades of grey. So Sakthi too has a change of heart and expects Sivan to quit the life of crime. He refuses and here's where the film gets mildly interesting.
During the interval, with deep sadness in his voice, this guy next to me said to his friend, "Antha police getup Soori ku kooda suit aaguthu aana Vijay ku suit aagalaye." I am not sure how long it takes to climb up the police hierarchy, but don't expect me to believe that a nobody can become an Asst. Commissioner in a matter of weeks. The problem with "Jilla" is that it wants Sakthi to quickly transform from being a powerful thug into a powerful policeman. The film doesn't want him to pay the price of inefficacy by being a lowly constable or a sub-inspector. It wants him to continue driving cool cars and wear cool clothes and sunglasses on duty. You simply cannot have it both ways. As if this lapse of logic isn't insulting enough, Sakthi gives a patronizing speech about the qualities of a good policeman. If you are embarrassed to be anything less than an Asst. Commissioner, then don't you dare tell me what makes a good police; leave that to Anbuchelvan and Aarusaamy.
You have a mass hero and a veteran actor whose mere screen presence commands respect. When you pit them against each other, is it too much to expect fireworks bursting off the screen? Maybe. But is it too much to expect a film that doesn't bore you to death? Heck no. Yet, this is what "Jilla" has to offer in terms of entertainment: nothing. There's not even a mild trace of humor. The film's female lead character, played by Kajal Aggarwal, is quite easily one of the worst I have seen in years. She is subject to stalking, sexual harassment at workplace and mostly made a complete fool of.. all at the hands of the film's "hero". The songs are no good either.
It's a mass film without any mass moments. With nothing worth cheering for, the fans have to make do with poor punch dialogues and idiosyncrasies like shoulder bumps (It's so funny when fans start shouting upon seeing a shot that appeared in the trailer. Hey! We know you recognize it. Why do you have to shout for that?) There are all kinds of sentiments happening in "Jilla" and they all have one thing in common: they instantly remind you of some Jos Alukkas advertisement. The background score gets mawkish and Vijay struggles to emote. The direction is very mediocre and unimaginative, failing to deliver even the most basic levels of entertainment.