Monday Morning Movie Review: Boss Level (2021)

With my busy schedule lately I haven’t had the opportunity to watch quite as many flicks as I was during the height of the long, cold nights of winter, which is why I skipped Monday Morning Movie Reviews last week.  That week also ended up being quite busy, as I’m putting in extra hours in the evenings to stay on top of grades and other projects.

Fortunately, I managed to carve out some time for flicks, and enjoyed a Hulu original, March 2021’s Boss Level.  Boss Level is a sci-fi action movie about a man in a Groundhog Day-style time loop, except he dies every day (usually around 12:47 PM) at the hands of a team of mercenaries, ranging from a sword-wielding Chinese woman to a ballistics-obsessed midget (excuse me—“Little Person”).

The Groundhog Day premise of repeating a single day over and over has been big in films lately, especially with the success of the 2020 romantic comedy Palm Springs.  Boss Level treads similar ground—the humor and terror of reliving the same day forever—but with an action-packed twist.

Our protagonist, Roy Pulver, wakes up every morning to a machete-wielding maniac thrusting his blade in Roy’s headboard.  He then dispenses of the would-be assassin in various ways, usually around the time a helicopter shows up to blast Roy’s apartment to smithereens.

Roy gradually realizes, after dozens of days, that he is being tracked, and draws closer and closer to the ultimate mastermind of his doomed existence, the “Big Bad” portrayed amusingly by Mel Gibson, who is enjoying a much-overdue return to the spotlight.  It then takes another large number of days for him to learn how to escape his fate, which requires an action-packed fourteen-minute timeframe.

I can’t give away much more without getting into spoilers, but the movie is an enjoyable thrill ride.  Roy’s shifting moods—from resignation to hope to despair—help us sympathize with Roy’s predicament.  He also spends many “days” with his son.

The MacGuffin of this film is the Osiris Spindle, in which Roy finds himself trapped.  Unfortunately, the Osiris Spindle is so powerful that it destroys the world, so even if Roy makes it past 12:47 PM on his repeated day, he eventually witnesses the destruction of Earth.  Of course, Roy is in the MacGuffin, which presents its own problems.

Overall, I very much enjoyed this flick, though it began to drag a bit towards the middle.  The runtime is 100 minutes, so some trimming would have been advisable.  A movie like Boss Level should be 80-90 minutes, tops.  Also, the classification of classic 16-bit arcade games like Street Fighter as 8-bit will be jarring to nerds.

That said, if you’re looking for an amusing and fun flick to wile away these last winter nights, Boss Level is worth your time.  You just might not find yourself watching it again… and again… and again… and—well, you get the idea.

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