By now audiences are familiar with the well-worn narrative concept of a time loop. Whether in film or on TV, the idea of characters trapped re-living the same day has become commonplace. That’s not to say some aren’t better than others.
Groundhog Day has become a comedy classic with several iconic scenes with star Bill Murray. Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt brought us the sci-fi/futuristic version of Live. Die. Repeat with Edge of Tomorrow, while Happy Death Day turned the concept into an engaging horror/comedy. Just last year we got the R-rated comedy Palm Springs, and in February Amazon presented The Map of Tiny Perfect Things. But the stories keep on coming.
In Hulu’s latest original, Boss Level, the formula takes the action up to an 11, and features its own spin on the idea of being trapped in an infinite time loop. We quickly meet Roy (Frank Grillo) who wakes up and must repeat the same violent and deadly day as assassins hunt him relentlessly. Roy doesn’t know why they’re after him, he just knows every day ends badly only to start again.
Much like others trapped in infinite time loops, Roy has a destiny to fulfill, and until he does he’s doomed to wake, rise, and die violently. Can he save himself—and the world—before the clock runs out for good? That’s the challenge the film presents.
This is at times one of the most violent films I’ve seen recently. But it manages to keep things light despite the grisly content thanks to a fun script and a great performance from Grillo, who’s the heart of the film. Grillo has played supporting characters in several films and shows, notably taking a role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe opposite Captain America and showing his dramatic chops in the fine border drama No Man’s Land, released earlier this year. With Boss Level he takes the lead and shows his great action skills and his comedy chops in equal measure, also delivering some strong dramatic sequences that help provide depth and engage the audience.
This film also has a strong supporting cast that includes Naomi Watts, Ken Jeong, Michelle Yeoh and Mel Gibson, who gives a solid turn as the primary villain. If you look closely, there’s also a great supporting role played by once and current Super Bowl champion Rob Gronkowski.
At the helm is director Joe Carnahan, who’s worked on action films like Narc, Smokin’ Aces and The Grey. Carnahan severed as co-writer and has a great vision for this film, using the action sequences to help drive the story forward. The film has a nice pace and a somewhat unexpected and fun ending.
Boss Level wades into a familiar plot construct and adds its own wrinkle. Its level of violence and adult content won’t be for everyone, but if you’re looking for a good action film its worth checking out.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.