January is well-known for being the month where mediocre films flood the box office. In January, when movie theater traffic is low, studios usually throw out the movies they know are bad or don’t have faith in making much revenue at the box office. However, this January has been different, featuring the release of some great films including 1917, Bad Boys for Life, and even The Gentleman. Sadly, The Rhythm Section is a harsh reminder that January is still the garbage dump of months when it comes to movie releases.
The Rhythm Section follows Stephanie Patrick (Blake Lively) a few years after her family’s death in a plane crash. When she finds out from a journalist that the plane crash wasn’t an accident, the discovery leads her down a path of vengeance as she tries to track down the people responsible for her family’s death.
It’s strange seeing this strong of a cast, made up of actors who have shown their potential in great movies, end up in this mess of a film. Saying Blake Lively is a good actress is an understatement; for the most part, she is a phenomenal actress, she just doesn’t always pick the best projects. From movies like The Shallows and A Simple Favor, her performances are often the standout in otherwise lackluster films. However, in this movie, her talent couldn’t save her character. Stephanie Patrick is one of the most boring characters to hit the big screen in quite a while. The film gives us nothing to latch onto in her character besides the fact that her family was killed, but that’s not enough for us to root for her. We start the movie seeing her at an absolute low point in her life, moping around the screen. This would be fine if we could have seen some character development throughout the movie, yet her character barely changes during the course of the film. There are even points during the movie when her character becomes flat-out unlikable because of the choices she makes.
The supporting cast also has some respectable actors, yet unfortunately, all of them are pretty useless as well. Jude Law plays B, the former intelligence agent who trains Stephanie to carry out her vengeful plan, but he also comes off as unlikable. His character doesn’t have any depth to him besides being a former intelligence agent and going a bit extreme with some of his actions. Sterling K. Brown plays Mark Serra, a role that had the potential to be great, but the way they play out his character fell way too flat. When you get toward the end of the movie, they try to have a big reveal with him that doesn’t work. It’s not set up well and felt like a desperate attempt to try to give the movie more depth.
A story we’ve seen many times
The basic plot of the movie is nothing new. The “someone who’s been wronged going on a hunt for revenge” plot has been played out in hundreds of other movies and this movie does nothing new. It never attempts to go above and beyond to try something interesting or unique with the plot structure, but rather stays within a comfort zone, following the same basic plot structure of all the other movies. The film is annoyingly predictable, boring, and frustrating. I would have at least respected the filmmakers if they had tried something different, but since it’s essentially a cut-and-paste copy of every other movie from this genre, it’s hard to give any respect. Having the lead character be someone you don’t care for, or even grow to hate, the bland plot becomes even more noticeable.
The rest of the movie could have been forgiven if the action was at least exciting and well-choreographed, yet the movie failed at that as well. There’s nothing new or exciting in the way the action scenes are handled, and with an unlikable lead character, you don’t feel engaged in the fight scenes at all. There were also a couple of action scenes that felt out of place and unnecessary, which isn’t a good thing in an action movie. Action without purpose just becomes visual noise, and that’s how all action scenes felt—just like random noise on the screen. For having an R-rating, these scenes also felt very tame. The fight scenes never got intense or gritty, and they felt like they belonged in a bad PG-13 action movie. There was one entertaining car chase scene that was filmed to look like it was shot in one take with a cameraman inside the car alongside Lively. It felt fresh and original, since I’ve never seen a scene filmed like that, but by that point in the movie it was kind of useless and didn’t affect the movie overall.
Featured Image: IMDb
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