Mel Gibson never went through much on an action movie phase in his younger career. Sure, there were some roles here and there that trended more that direction, but in terms of a complete action star, the closes he ever really got was with the Lethal Weapon franchise. But later in his career, things have taken more of that turn. Even though he’s getting older, Gibson is finding his way into some more of these films here and there. And one of them is blowing up on streaming. Boss Level is the number one movie on Hulu in the United States for this past week.
On its face, Boss Level is your standard Groundhog Day approach to the narrative and plot arc. Frank Grillo plays Roy Pulver, a guy stuck repeating the same day over and over again. Unlike some other versions of this movie that play out in a more comedic fashion, this one ends when Pulver is bloodily murdered to cap off the day only to repeat it the next. We catch up with the character while he’s well into these same- day iterations. He’s fully aware of his current lot in life and has come to be pretty adept at conquering the interactions within the day while not totally solving how to get out of it. Mel Gibson plays Colonel Clive Ventor, the man responsible for putting Pulver in the infinite loop.
It seems Mel Gibson as Ventor is in the possession of a machine that causes people to relive these time loops and he very much has an ulterior motive when using it. While Grillo’s character is stuck replaying the same day over and over, he’s also being studied and tracked to see the effects of the machine. There are other machinations at play in this movie, but that’s the general gist. We are stuck on daily repeat with Pulver, learning by trial and error what works in this world while getting closer to the real answers and solution. Here, check out the trailer for Boss Level.
Boss Level, as a title, suggests something of a video game feel for the movie and in a lot of ways it plays out as such. Pulver is tasked with learning the world, defeating different characters and ultimately leveling up to that final stage when he can defeat Mel Gibson. It’s simplistic and silly this way, not anything all that original but that’s fine when setting out to make an enjoyable, if sophomoric action film.
And though we’ve seen this kind of movie many times before, this one totally works. Director Joe Carnahan has some experience with more fun action movies in the past with films like The A-Team and Smoking Aces. Some of that is on display in this film, making sure the viewers know we shouldn’t be taking anything quite so seriously. Frank Grillo and Mel Gibson play their parts well with the latter acting every part the big bad, over-the-top evil with few redeeming qualities. Gibson is pretty darn good in the role.
Boss Level scored really well with critics sitting at 73% on Rotten Tomatoes and 56 on Metacritic. Most agreed that though ridiculous, you couldn’t take your eyes off what was happening on screen. The loop thriller aspect was done in an enjoyable way with all major players essentially pulling off what they needed to on the screen. Joining Frank Grillo and Mel Gibson in the cast is Naomi Watts as Pulver’s wife, Michelle Yeoh as one of Ventor’s chief henchmen, and some comedic additions of Will Sasso and Ken Jeong.
Though it featured some bigger names in the cast like Frank Grillo and Mel Gibson, Boss Level was caught in pandemic-related release hell. Originally, the film was supposed to come out in 2019 but missed its scheduled opening. That led to it getting delayed until 2020 and we all know what happened to movies last year. Ultimately, Hulu purchased the film for an undisclosed sum. So while the $45 million budget and $350,000 total box office haul makes it looks like the bomb of the century, there were extenuating circumstances on that.
Next up for Mel Gibson is the murder mystery thriller Last Looks with Charlie Hunnam. And after that, it’s a flick into United States military espionage in Panama. But before those come out, check his movie which is crushing it on streaming.