It arrived a few weeks ago on Amazon Prim Video without making much noise, but quickly rose to the top positions of the newly released top of the most-watched platform. The reasons are clear: as seemingly stupid as he is very lively and intelligent at heart, ‘Boss Level’ is pure cult cinema. Funny, ironic, modest, full of surprises and resistant to revision.
It shouldn’t surprise us coming from Joe Carnahan, a director devoted to action cinema, but who has always approached it in an intelligent and personal way, although some of his films are commissions like his excellent and unexpected version of ‘El Equipo A’-. Among his most famous films are productions as disparate from each other as the claustrophobic and marvelous “White Hell” or the funny (and which coincides in tone and rhythm with “Boss Level”) “Unexpected turn”.
In ‘Boss Level’, he continues to demonstrate why his films will not be millionaire blockbusters, but eagerly awaited in May by fans of well-choreographed, shot and edited action cinema, with characters in one. piece and powerful concepts. In this case, Carnahan starts from a foreign script, titled ‘Continue’ and written by Chris and Edie Borey (authors of the crazy ‘Open Grave’), which he completely rewrote, but respecting his concept: an action-oriented ‘Groundhog Day’ with many nods to video game mechanics who had (not so explicitly) ‘At the edge of the morning’.
Specifically, we will meet Roy Pulver (Frank Grillo), a Special Forces veteran who is trapped in a loop that has him repeat over and over again on the same day, in which he is pursued by a group of eccentric assassins. Every time they find him they kill him and start over, but he suspects that the secret of this crazy curl lies in the experiences that his wife (Naomi Watts) drives under the command of a mysterious military businessman (Mel Gibson).
Die again and again
The best of times is that Carnahan, very much in his conscious line, who uses action cinema to think about the possibilities of action cinema itself, takes it for granted that the viewer is very familiar with the narrative resources of the films of loops on time and decide not to waste time explain the rules to us. From the first moment, an ironic Cricket (why isn’t this guy a star already?… He would be a perfect Punisher!) Tells us he’s had enough of so many loops.
Carnahan immediately links the structure of “Boss Level” to the mechanics of video games. It does this explicitly with the title itself, the Street Fighter character selection screen that opens the movie, a video game tournament in the middle of the plot … in his way of carrying out an apprenticeship that allows him to move forward in his adventure, based on a method of trials and errors against nature and in search of clues and data in the meanders left by the “deadless” spaces.
All without the slightest hint of existentialism about what it means to die over and over again, something that most films after “Trapped in Time” inherited from Harold Ramis’ fundamental comedy. here dead in loop is a mechanical, as in video games, a narrative resource to take advantage of, and that Carnahan goes to the limit with an emphasis beyond character building or drama, making exaggerated, excellently well-planned action one more ingredient, almost a genre-movie-style plot. Oriental.
In fact, the film seems to send the viewer an honest and, in a sense, emotional message: Frank Grillo’s character is largely remembered. to the solid, one-dimensional heroes of a classic 80s and 90s action flick, and the Eternal Loop it’s in is a tribute to why we love genre cinema and, by extension, action video games. The repetition, again and again, of the same codes assumed by all, absurd and meaningless, but to which we are clinging. Like this little piece of seamless looping action.