Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Boss Level

B-movie actor Frank Grillo, best known for his role of Crossbones in the Marvel Universe films, stars as soldier Roy Pulver stuck in a time loop reliving the same day over and over again. Structured like a video game, although the explanation for the loop turns out having nothing to do with a video game, Ray fights through the army of oddball mercenaries every day but always ends up dying at some point.

The story behind Ray's predicament traces back to his ex-wife (Naomi Watts), her latest scientific breakthrough (which of course is never adequately explained), and her evil boss (Mel Gibson) who apparently has a never-ending rolodex of ridiculous killers on hand and a hard-on to kill Ray. The film is structured by showing us some sequences over and over again, and other times jumping forward to only the new moments. It does make use of ideas in both Groundhog Day and Edge of Tomorrow in Ray using his unique situation to learn more skills to survive. Sadly, writer/director Joe Carnahan's film is nowhere near as good as either of those films, or last year's far more enjoyable entry into the genre Palm Springs (also released on Hulu).

Boss Level is your typical throwaway B-movie action flick. Grillo is a bit stiff in the role, struggling with the amount of narration. The action sequences provide the source of most the film's fun, especially after Ray begins turning the tables on his assassins. The assassins themselves are a ridiculous bunch who Ray gives cute nicknames to including a sword-wielding killer (Selina Lo) loudly celebrating her victories and a dwarf (Aaron Beelner) with explosives. It's a bit uneven, feels far longer than its 94 minutes, and will likely make you as tired of reliving the proceedings as Ray himself. I can't quite recommend it, but for the right audience Boss Level does deliver its share of fun.

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