REVIEW: ‘Boss Level’ is Actually A Lot of Fun

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Boss Level

Not going to lie; I was a little hesitant going into Boss Level. The latest Hulu Original, directed by Joe Carnahan and co-written by Chris Borey & Eddie Borey, and Carnahan, the film is the second time-loop movie I’ve screened this month. But unlike the Young Adult quirky romance the last one was, Boss Level embraces a video game aesthetic with a 4th wall-breaking narration ala Wade Wilson. And honestly? I had a lot of fun.

Boss Level stars Frank Grillo as our lead Roy Pulver and features Will Sasso, Mel Gibson (don’t worry, he doesn’t have much screen time), Naomi Watts, Annabelle Wallis, Ken Jeong, Selina Lo, Meadow Williams, and Michelle Yeoh. Plus, it also puts Grillo up against Super Bowl champion Rob Gronkowski and MMA heavyweights Rashad Evans and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Now take that cast list and turn it into an all-out manhunt filled with mayhem, mishaps, and a whole bunch of creative murder.

In the film, Roy is trapped in a time loop that constantly repeats the day of his murder. A former special forces agent Roy has revived the same day over 100 times and remember and feels each death after the “next day.”  While each day ends with his death, Roy has to uncover clues about a secret government project to unlock the mystery behind his untimely death. Each day he races against the clock to hunt down Colonel Ventor (Mel Gibson), the powerful head of the government program, while also outrunning skilled, ruthless assassins determined to keep him from the truth to break out of the loop and somehow manage to save his ex-wife (Naomi Watts) all in one go.

Boss Level isn’t some meta take on the genre, but more so a movie focused on reimagining the time-loop as a video game level, equipped with video game font title cards that come up counting the number of attempts Roy has lived through. The implementation of the text and Roy’s way of problem-solving lend to hit the video game aesthetic on the head in a way that doesn’t feel out of touch nor forced. In fact, for those who’ve been stuck in on a final boss, realizing that sometimes you have to try and die repeatedly eliminating variables makes all the sense in the world.

In fact, despite remembering the pain of each death, Roy begins to use it as his restart switch every time he learns something new about the people after him and figures out the way to break the loop. It’s not something groundbreaking, but damn, is it fun to watch. Of course, that is due largely to Grillo’s charisma, comedy, and physicality as Roy. The action sequences strike a balance between well-thought-out choreography and absurdity that keeps the film light even when Roy discovers that the circumstances are world-ending.

But while the physical comedy lands, the dialogue isn’t safe from a couple of cringeworthy jokes – one specifically said by Gibson’s Colonel Ventor, in a shock to no one. But thankfully, those moments are small and few and far between. And to be honest, the people around Roy, outside his ex-girlfriend’s son, have little to no relevance than to serve as assassins for hire, which’s okay. While none of them serve no purpose beyond their schtick, this is Roy’s movie, and ultimately his lesson to learn.

Overall, Boss Level may have a convoluted story told through weirdly placed Egyptian mythology but damn if it isn’t a fun ride. Grillo shows up in Boss Level and owns every scene. He does so for the action and even turns on the big dad energy when he gets the space to have emotional and tender moments that come in the film’s final act. The film relies on action, comedic injuries, and Grillo’s charm, making it a fun Friday night flick.

Boss Level is available now, exclusively on Hulu.

Boss Level
  • 6.5/10
    Rating - 6.5/10
6.5/10

TL;DR

Overall, Boss Level may have a convoluted story told through weirdly placed Egyptian mythology but damn if it isn’t a fun ride. Grillo shows up in Boss Level and owns every scene. He does so for the action and even turns on the big dad energy when he gets the space to have emotional and tender moments that come in the film’s final act. The film relies on action, comedic injuries, and Grillo’s charm, making it a fun Friday night flick.