What’s it about?
Roy (Frank Grillo) is trapped in a timeloop, inevitably ending in his death at the hands of a cadre of colourful assassins hired by the villainous Colonel Ventor (Mel Gibson).
What did we think?
Elizabeth Best says: A love letter to videogames and ass-kicking that’s weighed down in parts by too much exposition. Get back to the punching, dammit, and find a way that’s less talky talky to explain your maguffin.
Boss Level revels in playing with its time loopiness (bar one or two scenes that missed a comedic beat by being cut short). There’s also a surprising amount of heart thanks to the third act introduction of a kid into the mix.
Good dirty action/sci-fi fun. 7/10
Peter Linning says: …Groundhog Day by way of over-the-top videogame-inspired action, and if you go in knowing what you’re in for, it’s an absolute treat. Frank Grillo really should have been a bigger name by now, he’s got the jacked physique and gravelly voice of an old-school action star, the real-world martial arts chops to sell the action setpieces, but also has a self-effacing charisma that works well for a character that is so far beyond caring if he lives or dies (again). The film’s opening scene is a perfect example of this, with Roy going through his morning routine of shoes, shirt, and coffee, all while giving the barest minimum of attention to the machete-wielding maniac coming at him full-speed. It’s a great bit of physical comedy as he looks convincingly bored with the entire proceedings, while still coming across as genuinely in peril.
The movie can’t maintain this momentum for its full runtime, even at a tight 90 minutes long there are a few unnecessarily long sequences to push the plot forward, an expository scene with Roy’s estranged lover (Naomi Watts in full paycheque mode) and a downright pointless monologue from Mel Gibson (who at least seems to be thoroughly enjoying himself) being the worst offenders. The introduction of a child character halfway through had me groaning in anticipation of more wasted time, but Grillo salvages these moments with a few surprisingly touching moments that give the movie a little bit of heart.
It’s clunky and disjointed, but Grillo elevates the proceedings and the familiarity of the premise doesn’t serve as a detractor, at the end of the day it’s…