In the recent past, Mammootty's exploration of different roles such as the vengeful Luke Antony in Nissam Basheer's 'Rorschach', or James and Sundaram in Lijo Jose Pellissery's 'Nanpakal Nerathu Mayakkam', or the stylish Michealappan in Amal Neerad's 'Bheeshma Parvam', has prompted many critics to note that he is undergoing a process of reinvention.
However, Roby Varghese Raj, in his 'Kannur Squad', presents a familiar Mammootty who always shines in cop roles. Be it the mild-mannered cop in 'Unda' or the no-nonsense CBI officer Sethurama Iyer, Mammootty's performances have always been top-notch as a law enforcement officer. In 'Kannur Squad' too, it is the performance of the lead star and his gang that lead the movie forward.
The screenplay by Muhammed Shafi and Rony David has potential but doesn't attempt to break new ground, which affects the film in places. However, Roby Varghese Raj skillfully masks this with good execution. The internal conflicts between the cops seem to be inspired by 'Unda', but unlike the Khalid Rahman directorial, it feels a little artificial. The latter half of the film is more captivating than the first half, which is plagued by a few cliches.
The Kannur Squad is a task force within the Kerala Police known for its ability to deliver breakthroughs when everyone else fails. It has integrity and resilience, but an incident threatens to question the team's goodwill. Amidst that, they are tasked to nab the culprits who are accused of killing a businessman in Kasaragod.
The investigation, the journey that leads to the arrest of the criminals and the challenges they face form the crux of 'Kannur Squad'. Despite no major twists, the performances of all the actors and the action-oriented sequences in the second half of the movie, make 'Kannur Squad' engaging. Rony David, who is the film's co-writer, also doubles up as a cop in the movie. Shafi and Azeez Nedumangad deliver good performances as squad members, though their character arcs could have been explored better. After all, cops are also people with emotions and their personal stories also need to be told, just like how Ahammed Khabeer handled it in 'The Kerala Crime Files'.
Kannada actor Kishore Kumar G whose previous Malayalam film was 'Djibouti' plays IPS officer Manu Needhi Choolan with conviction. The film is a blend of commercial and realistic cinema. George and his team travel the breadth of the country to bring a few culprits to justice. Such cops make up 20 per cent of the police force, says Choolan in the film, which is also a tribute to those hardworking, dedicated law enforcers in the country.