Review | ‘Boss Level’ brings video game inspired ‘Groundhog Day’

Boss Level | Dir: Joe Carnahan | ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ 

This breath-taking film opens with a computer game selection of Roy Pulver (Frank Grillo) against Mr Good Morning. That is the name the flesh-and-blood Roy has given to his opponent that greets him every morning by wanting to hack him up with a machete. Former Special Forces soldier Roy admits that this was fun for a while, but after nearly 140 consecutive mornings of being woken like that, he wants it to stop.

In this extremely violent Groundhog Day, Roy has to face a series of assassins after Mr Good Morning. He has given them nicknames – Kaboom is the guy with the explosives; Pam and Esmerelda unleashing continual firepower; Guan-Yin wielding a sword with deadly accuracy; the German twins who are double trouble and there’s even lookalike Roy #2 who is out to kill him as well.

It is one hell of a ride as writer / director Joe Carnahan makes sure Roy is stabbed, shot at, blown up, beheaded or kills himself trying to escape the assassins until her realises that the repeated loop in time and space is giving him chances to be the man he needs to be. As the number of attempts continues to climb, Roy begins to avoid and even kill his assassins on his way to the cigar smoking boss Colonel Ventor (Mel Gibson).

So much violence has never been so entertaining, but of course there is an underlying moral to the story about the things in his life that Roy could have done better … much better. His 11 year old son Joe (Rio Grillo), with scientist and ex-wife Dr Gemma Wells (Naomi Watts), would rather play video games than go to school but he doesn’t know Roy is his father.

The science of the contraption that continually resurrects Roy is total nonsense, the connections to the mythological figures Iset and Osiris tenuous but interesting and the over-the-top revenge violence is mesmerisingly poetic. The goal of becoming the best version of himself to save the world plugs into all those satisfying homilies about leaving the past behind but learning from it. Just how many attempts will it take?

Lezly Herbert

Love OUTinPerth Campaign

Help support the publication of OUTinPerth by contributing to our
GoFundMe campaign.

Tags: , , , , , ,

You must be logged in to post a comment Login