Newest Reviews
Offering, The
Enola Holmes
Big Calamity, The
Man Under Table
Freedom Fields
Boy Behind the Door, The
Swords of the Space Ark
I Still See You
Most Beautiful Boy in the World, The
Luz: The Flower of Evil
Human Voice, The
Guns Akimbo
Being a Human Person
Giants and Toys
Millionaires Express
Bringing Up Baby
World to Come, The
Air Conditioner
Fear and Loathing in Aspen
Riders of Justice
Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki, The
For Those Who Think Young
Justice League: War
Fuzzy Pink Nightgown, The
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness
Night of the Sharks
Werewolves Within
King and Four Queens, The
Stray Dolls
Diana's Wedding
Toll, The
Two of Us
Nowhere Special
Rainbow Jacket, The
Newest Articles
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
  Boss Level Aiming For The High Score
Year: 2021
Director: Joe Carnahan
Stars: Frank Grillo, Mel Gibson, Naomi Watts, Will Sasso, Annabelle Wallis, Sheaun McKinney, Selina Lo, Michelle Yeoh, Ken Jeong, Meadow Williams, Mathilde Ollivier, Rio Grillo, Armida Lopez, Buster Reeves, Eric Etebari, Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson, Rashad Evans
Genre: Action, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Roy Pulver (Frank Grillo) has a feeling he has been here before. That is because he has, almost a hundred and fifty times before, living exactly the same day or at least the beginning of it, for every time he awakens, there is a man with a machete standing over him who tries to plant the weapon in his skull. Roy does not know how to get out of this predicament, or why it is happening to him, but he does know that he will have to kill the machete man, avoid a helicopter shooting at him with a heavy-duty machine gun, the car with two armed assassins, and so on and so on - but eventually, someone’s going to kill him.

After Groundhog Day was released in 1993, there was more or less a gentlemen's agreement that its fantastic premise - the protagonist lives the same day over and over - would not be used in other movies. Around twenty-five years later, that agreement was not worth anything and the floodgates opened with a bunch of copycat efforts - Edge of Tomorrow, Happy Death Day, Palm Springs and others - appeared across the media, some making better use of the idea than others. Boss Level was one of those, and as acknowledged in the title emphasised the computer gaming angle to this: die in the game, and you get another life.

Or you do until your lives run out, which some of these stories considered and others did not: here was one that did not appear to do so until very late in the day. It was directed by Joe Carnahan, who took an existing screenplay by brothers Chris Borey and Eddie Borey and rewrote it to beef up the emotional element he felt it needed to connect with audiences. Whether it would have or not was a moot point, because eventually the studio decided not to release it, and it escaped onto a streaming service in North America two years later, only securing theatrical releases in select countries (admittedly, there were also pandemic motives for this).

Nevertheless, it must have been disappointing, and it seems the lack of faith was down to the stars, Grillo regarded as a straight to video kind of guy rather than a big screen leading man, and the choice of villain with Mel Gibson still proving a sticking point with some audiences as past complaints about him resurfaced. Indeed, Gibson's biggest fans by that time seemed to be middle aged action and thriller directors happy to cast him in items like this, and to be fair, if you needed to be fair, he was very effective here, though blatantly given a centrepiece speech to bulk up his role more, since he did not have a whole lot to do otherwise. He was also a little lost amid the more colourful bad guys and girls.

Mind you, Gibson had more to do that Michelle Yeoh, who no matter that she was one of the biggest stars in the picture, had barely three scenes in this, and only one of those of any significance, something she could have done in her sleep by this stage. But this was an ensemble supporting Grillo, a mixture of crazed assassins and quirky neutral characters: love interest Naomi Watts was pretty vanilla here, yes, she was the one who we discover kicked off the science fiction explanation for Roy's repetitive existence, but she was really present simply to be rescued. Grillo recruited his own son to play Roy's son, living out that day reconnecting with the boy, and this was the main addition Carnahan made to the plot which rather slows things down if you were being honest. Also, there was a long section where we flashed back to see why all this was going on that felt like too much exposition: we all had the measure of this narrative, we did not need it overexplained. But it was difficult to mess it up too badly, and if it was finally on the conventional side, Grillo was good value and there was some fun to be had. Music by Clinton Shorter.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 241 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

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
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf


Last Updated: