Saturday, December 26, 2020

Boss Level (2021) Movie Review © Dan's Movie Report – Danny Templegod

Above image: Poster for Boss Level (C) 2020 Hulu, all rights reserved image not monetized.

Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report and readers. I must say, Hulu is really rising in popularity, especially with many more people being home. Unlike Netflix and Disney, Hulu does not yet have a huge library of films and shows to entice new viewers. Of course Hulu does offer one huge advantage, live TV. Things are going to change in 2021 as Hulu aims to be a bigger player on the streaming stage, starting with a huge buy of 'Boss Level', giving the service exclusive North American rights to the film. I am sure that 2021 will see a heightened competition between the streaming services for eyeballs. Once the pandemic subsides, I am sure that many viewers will perhaps limit their streaming services to one or two, perhaps dropping the ones they watch the least. Please adjust your browsers to desktop mode.

'Boss Level' skirts the line between action and science fiction, while keeping audiences entertained. Frank Grillo plays Roy Pulver a man one the edge of madness and forced to relive the events of a particular day over and over. In a modern day 'Groundhog Day' Roy must navigate the day to try and decipher why this is happening to me. His wife Alice, played by Annabelle Wallis is some sort of scientist, who is working on some top secret technology. The science is never fully explained, the the plot is a bit thin, that said, what the film lacks in plot and story it makes up in action and thrills.

Roy has to survive the day, and this fact alone makes the journey of 'Boss Level' entertaining. From the moment he gets up, throngs of thugs are after him. He must dodge bullets, cars, swords, and big guys with big weapons. The day starts with him waking up to a thug in his bed wielding a machete trying to kill him, then flies off the handle with him having to leap out of his apartment and land inside a refuse truck to break his fall. Needless to say, he dies, a lot, over and over. With each reset he tries to learn from his mistakes, thus a slightly different outcome. Grillo narrates the entire movie, which normally I would hate, but in this film the humor works and keeps the ride rolling along. 


Above image: Guan-Yin (Selina Lo) gets rough with Frank Grillo (C) 2020 Hulu, all rights reserved image not monetized.

My favorite encounter Roy has is with a sultry Asian assassin named Guan-Yin played by Selina Lo, who is like a guard for Mel Gibson's lead bad guy Clive Ventor. Roy has a gun and Guan-Yin has a sword, sometimes two, but even with a gun, Guan-Yin is faster and always manages to slice up Roy proclaiming: “I am Guan-Yin and Guan-Yin has done this.” Each time is more brutal than the last, and she always has a quirky line thrown in for good measure. Even though the film repeats sequences, each time the outcome is slightly altered, either by the way he dies or ends up surviving.

Director Joe Carnahan keeps things flowing along, playing up how 'Boss Level' would make a good video game by setting it up like a video game, including transitions and characters. The action and virtual movement from scene to scene without much story filler makes 'Boss Level' a fast paced film. With many scenes repeating multiple times it feel like the movie is shorter, yet still is 100 minutes.

Above Image: Mel Gibson as Clive Ventor (C) 2020 Hulu, all rights reserved, image not monetized.

Mel Gibson's sinister bad guy Ventor has a few wordy diatribes, yet has limited screen time, and his character is a bit under developed. In addition to the smaller amount of time spent in the movie, there is no back story on Ventor, his underlying motivation, and why he is the way he is. Even with minimal time to shine, Gibson does deliver the pensive older boss, never yelling and screaming, more seething underneath.

There is some sort of technology, which is also very vague, yet with all of the action, it really does not matter. Some sort of time shifting technology is shown, yet for the life of me, I just can't decipher what sort of technology it is, definitely not a time machine. Actually I thought about how 'Boss Level' would play out if it was a regular linear movie with no time shifting, obviously plot development would have the be put in, as more time for the side characters.

Behind the scenes, 'Boss Level' is given the “Hollywood” treatment. There are big action sequences, car chases, fights, exaggerated villains and heroes, bombastic music and huge stunts. Generally, films fall into three budgetary categories, the blockbuster 75 million dollar plus, low budget under 10 mil and mid-range 10-75 million, “Boss Level' probably was in the middle of the mid range category, yet has a more independent feel, though I would say it is not a 'B' movie. Actually by having the film on Hulu, 'Boss Level' will have a more prominent push on on the platform than it would have had as a theater movie.

'Boss Level' is a fun film to watch, yet even though it would have been a mid level theater movie, I feel that a streaming service is a better fit, as the audience for the film is more of a niche market. Hulu stepped up to the plate, thus 'Boss Level' will have a wider audience than if it got a limited theatrical release and faded to obscurity. Overall, even though I am a bit critical. I liked 'Boss Level' the film had some clever action bits and sardonic dialogue, rating a 7 out of 10.


Below: Trailer for Boss Level

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