Looking for a decent movie to watch on knockdown? While the cinema is out of bounds ESP’s film critic Gavin Miller is checking out what’s showing on the small screen at home instead…
After swiftly being released as a ‘Premium Video on Demand’ title (after having a limited theatrical run at the end of January) this has almost as quickly hit the £1.99 ‘bargain rental bin’ at Amazon – and it’s not hard to see why.
Let’s get the good out of the way first. Which is female lead Blake Lively. She’s rapidly emulating her husband’s (Ryan ‘Deadpool’ Reynolds) rise into A-list status, being one of Hollywood’s most dependable stars.
In the last half decade she’s put in head-turning performances in the likes of The Shallows, Age of Adaline and A Simple Favour – and she puts in another strong performance here. But sadly everything going on around her doesn’t help her.
The basic premise is very intriguing. Three years after the death of her entire family – Mum, Dad and younger brother and sister – in a plane crash, now-turned-prostitute and drug addict Stephanie Patrick (Lively) finds out it wasn’t an accident – but in fact a terrorist attack covered up by the government.
After discovering the whereabouts of the source of the information – Jude Law’s ex-MI6 agent – he trains Stephanie to become an assassin in the remote Scottish highlands near Inverness, as she vows vengeance on her family’s killers.
Over multiple locales worldwide we see Stephanie, under the alias of a deceased former ‘hitwoman’ Petra Reuter, one-by-one track down the mastermind behind that attack – with the help of Sterling K Brown’s (Black Panther) ex-CIA agent Marc Serra.
But what starts out as a dark and broody action-thriller trying so hard to viscerally portray the movie through the perspective of the tortured Stephanie – soon ends up being as drab as the dull palette it’s filmed with.
Lively does her best with the tools put in front of her, but it never really gets out of second gear to build on its early potential throughout the duration – and the confrontational set-pieces and uninspiring ending sadly leaves you underwhelmed.
What this adds up to is a just about passable genre-piece that tries to be too clever, and ends up actually being more lightweight than it intends – as The Rhythm Section misses a beat despite a Lively performance.
ESP Rating: 2.5/5
Cast: Blake Lively, Jude Law, Raza Jaffrey, Matilda Ziegler, Daniel Mays, Richard Brake, Tawfeek Barhom & Sterling K Brown
Running Time: 1 Hr 49 Mins
Director: Reed Morano