QuikReview: Boss Level (2021)

boss_level_ver3So due to hazardous road conditions in my area I’m stuck at home; and after receiving a ringing endorsement from film-authority for the rom-com Book of Love, I decided to watch Boss Level.

Overall….it’s fun movie. There are some directly meta bits (“Is that a katana?” “Psht, no, that would be Japanese.” “Let’s not bring racism into this.”) which don’t quite stick out like sore thumbs because the entire tone is so self-referential to begin with. There’s also a slam against “liberals,” which made me smile even though it’s the villain who makes it, so.
There’s not a whole lot to say about this movie that hasn’t been said already or made abundantly clear from the trailer. It’s a movie.

It has a beginning, an middle, a twist that raises stakes, and then an end. It has handsome and charismatic Frank Grillo, who handles the rather disappointingly basic action scenes with aplomb. It has Mel Gibson, uttering a performance that wouldn’t have gone amiss in a much better movie. It has about Michelle Yeoh, probably only present because someone in the production acquired compromising photos of her and negotiated her presence on set for an hour or two. I like to imagine she beheaded said producer with a prop sword when filming was done and left the set unchallenged. It has a cute kid who is not even annoying. It has an assassiness with her own tagline (“I am Guan Yin. And Guan Yin has done this!”) which probably really confused my coworkers when I added it to my email signature yesterday.

It’s a fun movie and I rather liked it.

Problem is: this could have been a serious, fun movie. It could have been a contender. It wouldn’t have been very hard, either. All it would have taken was a few more adjustments: a little bit less meandering during the first/discovery half of the movie, a little bit more earnestness during the action scenes, and a lot more focus on Grillo discovering the plot rather than getting humorously killed and reset dozens of times.

(There was also enormous potential for the damsel/girlfriend to be the ultimate villain/ess…given that she unhesitatingly and unapologetically used Roy and sent him to a horrible death literally hundreds of times, without his consent. Her character remains something of a blank because of this. Now, it could have been very simply solved by a very short line of dialogue along the lines of: “It’s been a long time since we were together. Would you still come and rescue me if I needed it?” “Of course!” Or, even with just the assurance at the end that “Hey. When I come back, will you go out with me again?” “Yes. Always.”

People complain about damsels having to be rescued. What they ought to complain about is damsels who don’t deserve to be rescued. As it is, lacking these notes, the damsel-mastermind came across [to me] as fairly unsympathetic, and this whole plot thread in my mind is simply fan speculation, adding depth and complexity to a script that doesn’t have and isn’t interested in such things. Oh well.)

Rated: an act of love and self-defense ought to be praised.

Also rated: I AM GUAN YIN AND GUAN YIN HAS DONE THIS!

9 thoughts on “QuikReview: Boss Level (2021)

  1. I’m surprised you didn’t personalize it to “I am Riders and Riders has done this!”

    My question to you is, did you watch this because Grillo was in it? You seem to have watched a lot of his stuff for the time that I’ve been following you.

    Liked by 1 person

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