Joe Carnahan’s Boss Level is a gut-punching, bone-crunching, ball-busting action film which embraces every inch of its darkly comedic conceit. The Frank Grillo starrer is a brilliant throwback pic, which plays like Edge Of Tomorrow meets Payback by way of Groundhog Day (if Bill Murray’s Phil Connors stabbed Stephen Tobolowsky’s Ned Ryerson in the head every time they met). You need to embrace Boss Level for everything it is and follow it into its own very special gonzo sci-fi/action world.
Grillo plays Ray Pulver, a former Special Ops soldier who wakes-up every morning with someone trying to kill him. His day goes from bad to worse and when he has to re-live it over and over every-time he dies. Ray is caught in a time loop in an attempt to save the life if his ex-wife (Naomi Watts) – and the planet which is facing destruction at the hands of Mel Gibson‘s villainous Colonel Ventor.
Grillo, Gibson and Carnahan make for a tough-ass combination and Boss Level delivers on everything that it promises. Grillo is a great leading man for this type of action picture, balancing the humour of the film alongside the physicality of the role. He’s totally believable as a 21st Century Lee Marvin – even when he’s dying in a series of Looney Tunes style set pieces. Meanwhile, the mighty Mel Gibson chews the scenery as the snarling foil who Grillo needs to fight henchman after henchman in order to defeat.
Brilliantly put together, Boss Level is a great-looking film which features wonderfully composed action sequence after action sequence. Few directors working today have the tough and tactile understanding of the genre like Joe Carnahan. He knows how to deliver well choreographed action and inject humour when things get too absurd (see also Smoking Aces).
A rollicking good ride, Boss Level gives you everything that you’d want for a film with this premise. It’s the type of flick that you could watch over and over and over and over…