Boss Level (2021)

Posted in Reviews by - August 18, 2021
Boss Level (2021)

A mid-budget, high-concept sci-fi actioner from WarParty Films – run by the very likeable duo of Joe Carnahan and Frank Grillo – which is funny, adventurous, oddly endearing, over-the-top violent and kind of nuts. Roy (Grillo) wakes up in a repetitive time loop – think Groundhog Day meets Grand Theft Auto – in which assassins continually kill him over and over again; chopping off his head, destroying his apartment and shooting him to ribbons for reasons he can’t understand. He’s a tough guy – an ex-soldier – which means he can get quite far into his day before the assassins ultimately win and he has to start all over again. When he learns of the death of his ex-partner – a leading scientist (Watts) in cahoots with a crooked colonel (Gibson) on a wacky experiment which can “unmake all of time and space” – Roy starts to investigate the cause of his death loop, which may also have something to do with the ultimate destruction of the planet. You won’t be finding any of the science referenced in The Lancet, but the film does enough right in its other departments to sidestep any gaping holes in the logic. Much of it works because of Grillo, who has aged into a fascinating action lead fit for the modern era. When the film reveals itself to essentially be a redemptive study, Grillo neatly shifts gears to reveal a convincing sensitivity. We know he has the muscle to keep up with the film’s physical demands, but he’s also not beyond self-parody; befriending the viewer, winking at the camera, and delivering pithy one-liners before being ended in another completely crazy sequence. An interesting supporting cast add to the film’s enjoyment: Selino Lo as a sword-slinging kung fu killer; Michelle Yeoh‘s extended cameo as Roy’s martial arts instructor; Mel Gibson’s cigar-chomping villain is a sturdy presence, even if he never quite gets beyond simply providing exposition. If you thought Edge of Tomorrow wasn’t quite mad enough, then give this one a whirl.

Watch now on Amazon Prime (UK).

This post was written by
Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a keyboard in London, UK.

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