Have you seen Groundhog’s Day? Or watched any movie that involved a time loop? You know, something happens to a guy or girl and they wind up relieving one particular day over and over again until they get it right? Even Tom Cruise’s acted in genre movie (Edge of Tomorrow). That’s pretty much what Boss Level is.
With the movie now hitting on-demand service, I decided to watch it and see if it’s worth your time and money.
Keep on reading to find out what I think.
What is Boss Level?
Boss Level is an action comedy starring a boatload of recognizable names. Names like Mel Gibson (who’s also in the recently released Fatman), Naomi Watts, Frank Grillo, Ken Jeong and Michelle Yeoh.
The movie’s directed by Joe Carnahan, the guy who wrote Bad Boys For Life and directed Smokin’ Aces and The A-Team. A mixed bag to be sure, but at least he’s familiar with the action genre. That familiarity shows, with Boss Level. It’s a heady mix of comedy, action and a touch of drama…though pretty much everything about it is average.
I like the premise. Like I said earlier, Groundhog’s Day and Edge of Tomorrow are some of my favourite movies in the time loop genre! Boss Level is intriguing, for a couple of reasons.
The initial plot is just Frank Grillo (Roy Pulver) trying to figure out why assassins are out for his head. It’s refreshing and puts you right at ground level in the movie! Like Roy, you have no idea who these people are and why they’re out to murder him.
It helps that Roy gives a pretty funny explanation about each of the assassins, which makes them more interesting. From the German Twins, to Roy 2 (because the guy looks like Roy) to Guan Yin, each is given a nickname and a funny intro. Sadly, the movie doesn’t keep up with these, as only a few are really fleshed out for the plot.
Speaking of plot, the machine central to the plot doesn’t even come into the picture until about halfway through the movie. Only then does it talk about the Osiris Spindle, the object that makes it possible for Roy to relive the same day after his death.
Like the assassins, the Spindle is barely elaborated on, other than it’s really unstable and it’s the major motivation for Mel Gibson’s character (Colonel Clive Ventor) to get it working.
While the movie is generally enjoyable, some parts of it tend to drag on, especially in the last third. Roy’s relationship with Joe (played by Grillo’s real son, Rio) seems more like a stilted attempt to slot in a plot device that a certain character’s still alive than an organic method of plot progression.
Roy’s sudden familial need to bond with the boy interferes with the plot, introducing an unneeded wrinkle to the whole story. Just focusing on his need for revenge and to find out the answers to his situation would’ve been more than enough to keep viewers hooked.
Similarly, the whole thing with Michelle Yeoh’s character also feels rather unnecessary.
I realize they wanted to make Guan Yin badass, but wasting time on the swordmaster subplot was boring. I’d think it’d have more of an impact for Roy to shoot Guan Yin and win with one shot, just like Indiana Jones did against the swordsman in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
However, the biggest disappointment has got to be the ending. I’ve always hated ambiguous endings and the one in Boss Level is ambiguous as hell. Does Roy fix reality? Did everybody die? Nobody knows because the movie ends abruptly!
Boss Level isn’t going to win awards for its plot or acting. That doesn’t make it a bad movie. You don’t really need your brains to enjoy it. There are some pretty hilarious moments that are worth the price of admission too. It’s a bit of a shame that parts of it aren’t fleshed out, but overall, the movie is a decent flick that you should get some enjoyment out of…especially if you’re into muscular men.
I’m a guy but hell…even I got to admit that Frank Grillo is built like a damn truck!
The Verdict: C+
Entertaining but needs more substance.
- Frank Grillo.
- Decent action.
- Plot could be tighter.
- Assassins need more screen time.