HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Morfalous, Les
Dreambuilders
Everything Went Fine
Lux AEterna
Rum Runners
Fairy and the Devil, The
Mad God
Outside the Law
I Remember Mama
Superman Unbound
Lawrence of Belgravia
House Across the Lake, The
Wonder Park
Hornsby e Rodriguez
Operation Mincemeat
5 Kung Fu Daredevil Heroes
Scoob!
Earwig
Offseason
Peau Douce, La
Double Indemnity
Na Cha and the Seven Devils
Deep Murder
Superman vs. the Elite
Adam Project, The
Osamu Tezuka's Last Mystery of the 20th Century
Horse, La
Buffaloed
Train Robbers, The
Let Sleeping Cops Lie
Abominable
Funeral, The
Burning Sea, The
Godzilla Singular Point
Ace of Aces
Innocents, The
Beast and the Magic Sword, The
Last Hard Men, The
Found Footage Phenomenon, The
Night Trap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Barely Lethal Mission: High School
Year: 2015
Director: Kyle Newman
Stars: Hailee Steinfeld, Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Alba, Sophie Turner, Dove Cameron, Rachael Harris, Jason Ian Drucker, Alexandra Krosny, Emma Holzer, Gabriel Basso, Jaime King, Toby Sebastian, Thomas Mann, Dan Fogler, Rob Huebel
Genre: Comedy, ActionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Trained from birth by a secret government agency, Agent 83 (Hailee Steinfeld) is a kick-ass special ops agent but longs to be just another regular high school girl. Unfortunately a normal life is impossible so long as spy boss Hardman (Samuel L. Jackson) keeps her on a tight leash. On a mission to capture maniacal terrorist Victoria Knox (Jessica Alba), 83 fakes her own death and adopts a new identity as Megan Walsh. Posing as a Canadian exchange student, Megan moves in with the Larsons including divorced mom Mrs. Larson (Rachael Harris, in a variation on her mom role in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010) films) and snippy teenage daughter Liz (Dove Cameron) who considers the new girl a total geek. Sure enough, life as an international assassin proves a cake for Megan compared with the perils she faces at high school.

It says something about the pressures facing high schoolers that spy kids and schoolgirl assassins have become such relatable archetypes. Even so, although young adult author Ally Carter's series of 'Gallagher Girls' novels earned a faithful fan following, films like D.E.B.S (2004), Hanna (2011) and Violet & Daisy (2011) were not big hits. The same fate befell Barely Lethal. Directed by Kyle Newman, the man behind teen horror The Hollow (2004), Star Wars-themed comedy Fanboys (2008) and a lot of Star Wars related documentaries and fan films (Newman's wife Jaime King plays a small role here) under the aegis of co-producer Brett Ratner, this indie teen comedy got lost amidst a surprising slew of spy films released in 2015.

The plot is ramshackle and some of the jokey sadism and gunplay sits uneasily within the frame of a light teen comedy. Yet Barely Lethal boasts disarming layers of satirical wit and goofball charm. Early scenes where Samuel L. Jackson - mentoring his second schoolgirl assassin in a row after live action anime adaptation Kite (2014) - trains little girls how to disarm bombs and disembowel enemies come across a little more disturbing than presumably intended. Yet John D'Arco's screenplay has a few waspish one-liners worthy of Heathers (1989). By far the best joke is that Megan's entire knowledge of high school comes from studying teen movies from the Nineties and Noughties. That makes things almost irresistible to those of us that grew up on films like Clueless (1995), Bring It On (2000) and 10 Things I Hate About You (1999). Hence Megan mistakes a group of perfectly nice and welcoming cheerleaders for the characters from Mean Girls (2004) and falls for guitar strumming pretty boy Cash (Toby Sebastian) even though kindhearted AV geek Roger (Thomas Mann) is clearly the guy for her. Although able to beat up a dozen hit-men twice her size, Megan remains vulnerable in the face of pranks, sarcasm, mind games and manipulative high school bullies until Liz helps her out.

Multi-talented Oscar-nominee Hailee Steinfeld is an appealing, ebullient lead although increasingly impressive Disney teen idol Dove Cameron steals a few scenes with her natural comedy gifts. With D'Arco drawing an endearing relationship between two misfit girls, their comic chemistry yields such inspired moments as the would-be brutal interrogation scene that turns into a girly blub-fest, the dumb jock's confession that turns out to be stolen from The Breakfast Club (1985), mom mistaking a talk about killing someone for the first time for a discussion about losing their virginity and the climax where Megan hijacks a helicopter to chase after her boyfriend. Comedians Rob Huebel and Dan Fogler put in funny cameos as respectively Roger's overprotective dad (who delivers two priceless monologues warning about sex and drugs) and a would-be cool teacher desperate to jam with Cash. Elsewhere, Jessica Alba graduates from lovable spy mom in Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D (2011) to murderous terrorist but weirdly plays her part like Kim Kardashian. On the other hand Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner relishes the chance to play someone besides perennial passive victim Sansa Stark. She excels as a limber sexy psycho badass.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 2972 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: