A friend of mine had a bit part in Sinhawalokanaya, a cricket movie starring rapper Delon. We went to see it, and it was worse than I thought. It’s not even so bad that it can be laughed at. It’s just bad. The story is basically Lagaan plus time travel, which could be great, but it’s not. While it starts fast it slows waaay down and adds a lot of boring stuff that neither cements the characters or moves the plot forward. The movie emerges as a boringly bad mix of crude racism, jingoist anti-colonialism and poor production values.
This is not to say that this genre of film is necessarily bad. Ranjan Ramanayake produces silly movies which, however, still have some transcendant awesomeness to them. The hero is clearly a hero, if overplayed, the damsel is clearly the damsel and there are funny bits and political jokes throughout. One Shot is not a great film, but it is fun to watch.
Sinhawalokanaya, however, has all of the poor production values (colonials show up in a semi-modern truck, dressed like French homosexuals, riding horses on paved roads) and none of humor or wit. It’s never really clear that Delon is the main character, or how his character develops at all. His love affair is completely peripheral to the plot, the damsel is not especially attractive. Even Dilshan Tillekeratne’s appearance in the film is not especially interesting.
This doesn’t even address the huge plot holes involving time travel. The villagers in the movie, for example, use time travel to go and learn cricket so they can come back and challenge someone’s son in a match for British dominion of the country. Why not bring back guns? Or modern medicine? Perhaps that’s a matter of choice.
I dunno, I suppose it is to be assumed that a time travelling cricket movie starring a B-list rapper would be bad. However, done right, such a film could be transcendentally bad, rising above bad to another level of awesome. Sinhawalokanaya, alas, is just merely bad.