The big point M Raja’s trying to make with Thani Oruvan is he can step out of the “remake” tag that bears heavily on his career. He thinks he has a film to make it on his own. He delivers a film that’s a good entertainer on the screen. It isn’t a movie that will hold much outside the theater.
Even when he’s subsisted on remakes, Raja had a knack for crafting movies that looked and felt superior to the source. He employs that talent to hack away a film that will seem to hold you to the edge of your seat. There’s nothing in Thani Oruvan that we haven’t seen before, but the concoction of tight narration, pretentious logic (passed off as smart writing) and rehashed zingers make it worth our while.
Where he would faithfully recreate entire films from proved hits, Thani Oruvan is an experiment in picking Tamil movie cliches from multiple sources and making them work. Raja scores OKish on the originality of his content, but knows well that he can cover that up with style and presentation. He does well.
All of that hacking would have failed if not for a larger-than-life character that’s tailored for Arvind Swamy. Having made a career of disappointing us with wrong choice of roles, Arvind Swamy has finally found one that scores for him and us. Playing a badass to the hilt, Swamy is what rescues Thani Oruvan from being an also-ran cat-and-mouse thriller.