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

For further information go to Hulu:

IMDB Page:

Monday, December 21, 2020

Day Of The Pigs (2020) Short Film- Review © 2020 Dan's Movie Report - Danny Templegod


Above: The dangerous ladies of 'Day of the Pigs' (C) 2020 Michael S. Rodriguez Left to Right - Nikki Curtis Jones and Sparkle Soojian

Greetings Dan's Movie Report readers, I checked out a new film today called 'Day of the Pigs' The short is an episode in a series called Strange Files: The film is available to watch:

I watched the twelve minute short film, here are my brief thoughts. The film's opening scene features a masked back robbery with three men who are dressed like Mexican Wrestlers. They get out, jump into the getaway car only to realize one guy is shot in the chest, needless to say, the three way cut becomes two. The two remaining guys make it to this farmhouse. The house has two ladies who are very devious and adorable at the same time. Sparkle Soojian as Starletta and Nikki Curtis Jones as Violet, have violence and control on their mind!

I really liked the premise of the film, the acting, settings and cinematography have room for improvement. The ladies sold the sexy vampy stuff, yet the guys just did not have enough sense of urgency for a type of film. The genre is supposed to be horror, but for me it felt campy and humorous, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Sparkle Soojian perhaps is the most enjoyable to watch, a bit fun, and sultry.

Overall, I want to see more of the premise developed into a series or movie, with a larger budget and full crew. 'Day of The Pigs' rates a 5 out of 10, average, with a side of sexy Sparkle!

Check out Sparkle Soojian on Instagram:

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Rise (Huong Ga) (2014) Movie Review - (C) 2020 Dan's Movie Report- Danny Templegod

 Above: Huong Ga (Rise)  Promotional Poster (C) 2014 TNA Entertainment All rights reserved, image used for promotional purposes only not monetized.

Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report and readers across my desk today comes a film from Vietnam from Executive Producer and Actress Truong Ngoc Anh. Directed by Cuong Ngo (Truy Sat )and debuting way back in 2014 this movie is rather hard to find, some areas of the world have it on Netflix. Essentially what Huong Ga boils down to is a female gangster film, told from the perspective of lead character Huong Ga – (Truong Ngoc Anh). Writers Minh Ngoc Nguyen & Dinh Tu Nguyen craft a provocative yarn fraught with the seething gangster underworld. Minh penned another Truong Ngoc Anh movie in 2011 called 'Pearls of the Far East' also directed by Cuong Ngo .\

Actually this is Truong Ngoc Anh's first foray into the action realm and it is quite entertaining. Of course, the story begins here. As in the beginning of 'Rise' we see Huong Ha as a youngster. A coming of age story, yet unlike 'The Lost Boys' or 98 percent other coming of age stories this one is more a personal female rise to power story. Yes guys are in the movie in prominent roles but the perspective if purely feminine. Of course a guy can enjoy 'Rise' as there are drug deals, pretty stylized yet gritty violence, and some decent action. Truong Ngoc Anh clearly used this film as a springboard to various other skills including learning wire work for her Vietnam Next Top Model and the 2016 film 'Truy Sat' to work harder on the action. In fact we just chatted and she still tells me she works out two hours a day to stay in shape.

Huong Ga sadly no real spoiler loses her mom in the early portion of the film and is forced to live with her grandmother. Her grandmother is barely scraping by with a small stand selling nick knacks, but she wants better for her granddaughter. The big plot point comes when a scuffle breaks out and Huong Ga has to defend herself and ends up burning part of the market down. Literally the movie progresses into a downward spiral of despair as the film deals with sensitive subjects such as rape, a self defense killing, and loss of a loved one.

Interspersed with action, 'Rise' really works well when the emotions are displayed. More often than not, action films are just that all action, and not much of a story. 'Rise' focuses on the story, the play between rival gangs and the human toll it takes. Worthy of note, Vietnam has very strict firearm laws so much of the action is visceral and involves sticks, hands, feet, elbows, or in one extreme case a BMW running over the gangsters!. With so much gun play and Gun-Fu in films 'Rise' offers a 'Gangs of New York' feel, angry and personal. Small crimes lead to bigger ones, spiraling out of control, luring the audience in to see what is next for Huong Ga and her gang. Actor Kim Ly as Tung gives a soulful performance as a gangster with a soul, understated, yet aggressive. With each death and prison sentence, she becomes hardened. As hard as she is, she still has to deal with rival gangs and she gets beat up pretty bad about 55 minutes in, no spoilers. Some gangster dialogue a rival gang leader tells Huong Ga “ There is only room for one tiger in the jungle.” She says to him, “Don't you think it is time to give up the jungle... since you've already been declawed. Well that escalated quickly note to self be nice to TNA at all times! Needless to say after that wordy exchange a fight broke out, a big one!

'Rise' rolls in at just under 93 minutes, the length allowed for a good mix of dialogue and action, never really bogging down. The emotional level is high, even if the action is a bit unpolished. Given the recent rise of Vietnam in action films with 'Truy Sat' and 'Furie', the sky is the limit when in 2021 Truong Ngoc Anh sets her sites on producing a follow up film to 'Rise'! Yep that is true, Initially it was supposed to film in 2020, but do to the global pandemic all productions in Vietnam and for that matter everywhere else has been halted. Only now December 2020, can things progress filming in Vietnam, and they are!

Overall 'Rise' rates a strong 7.5 out of 10, it is very good, and I am sure the sequel will also be well received. In addition to 'Huong Ga 2” 'Aka Rise 2', Truong Ngoc Anh looks to ramp up production on 'She Kings' in 2021. Keep it locked on Dan's Movie Report and for production updates!


The film screened in the USA in early 2016, below is an official trailer from Houston Screening, with English subtitles. 

Connect with 'Rise' and the sequel:

Official Facebook:

TNA Entertainment Official Facebook:

IMDB for 'Rise'