Boss Level is a non-stop action film, that really shows watching a hero die over and over again can actually be a lot of fun. This movie feels like a crossover between Hardcore Henry and Happy Death Day. If that sounds like a match made in heaven, then this will be the perfect viewing for you.
Boss Level starts with Roy Pulver, a retired special forces soldier sleeping in bed. As he awakes, he is suddenly attacked by a machete-wielding assassin. But it doesn’t stop there. After taking out the first hitman, a helicopter appears at his window, ready to shower the place with bullets. As we find out from the voice-over, this has happened to Roy many times over. He has no explanation as to why, just every day he must fight different assassins that for some reason are trying to kill him.
It’s a simple premise, but it manages to be a lot of fun. Much of this is down to Frank Grillo, who is a charismatic and charming lead in Boss Level. With the onslaught of attempts on his character’s life, he perfects the delivery of dry humour about it. Even though the deaths are frequent and very violent, Boss Level manages to make every death hilarious.
Each death manages to be entertaining in new and different ways. This what makes a film, that as part of its theme repeats itself, to have a freshness about it. Though there is one particular line, “screams at date rape volume” that felt quite tone-deaf. They could have achieved the same effect with a less insensitive line, and I am surprised this made into the final film. But in terms of comedy, that is the only part, I had any gripes about.
It is not just senseless deaths and murders that Boss Level has to offer. There is a story that slowly develops amongst all the bloody chaos. There is a connection between Roy’s time loop, his wife, and the company she works for. Having not been able to escape the assassins for long, he has limited time to figure out what it may be. Sometimes having to make painful decisions to find the answers he is seeking.
I really did enjoy the sub-plot of Roy reconnecting with his son. Roy as we soon find out has been fairly absent from his son’s life, so much so, that his son does not know he is even his father. This human element to this repeated deaths, where he continually spends the day with his son, makes it much more so than just a mystery that Roy needs to solve. He needs to figure out how to stop it, so he can become the man he used to be. Though the action was much appreciated in Boss Level, having this human element allows the action to not become mundane.
Where it fails to deliver is unfortunately the main villain. The other antagonists such as the assassins are pretty entertaining fodder. Their roles are cookie-cutter, but that is OK for their part in the movie. They do not have any backstory or need one. They are there just to add some fatal resistance to Roy’s life. However, the repeated line by the female sword wielder becomes a bit tiresome after the first 3 times. A little variation, though would not make sense in a time loop, would have been much-needed relief. No one needs to actually endure the time loop along with Roy.
But back to the main villain, which is Mel Gibson as Clive Ventor in Boss Level. His character is unfortunately quite inspiring in his role. He is presented as the villain, but apart from being rich and powerful, there is not much more to him. His long-winded speeches do offer some respite from the blandness that is Colonel Clive Ventor. However, with nothing behind these speeches that offer nothing more, than we should despise this guy, it all seems a bit shallow. Thankfully Gibson, who appears throughout the film, the majority of his scenes are near the end. The ending is left ambiguous to probably leave an opening for a sequel. As much as I usually dislike sequel endings, it did fit perfectly with the movie.
Boss Level is an action-packed film that is entertaining, charming and a lot of fun. It may not have this strongest plot, but Frank Grillo manages to make that a secondary concern. He is the star of this kick-ass movie and owns it with every scene. Boss Level is an action sci-fi that for the most part delivers on its original promise.