Blake Lively has impressed me in her recent work. She played very different characters in “The Shallows” (2016, read my review here) and “A Simple Favor” (2018, read my review here), but she really shows off her ability to bury herself in a role as the star of “The Rhythm Section.”
Lively plays Stephanie, a junkie prostitute whose entire family was killed when terrorists blew up the passenger plane they were on. When an investigative reporter tracks her down and reveals that the incident wasn’t an accident, she pulls herself together and enlists the aide of a former MI-6 officer (Jude Law) to seek revenge on the perpetrators. He teaches her how to fight, how to shoot, and how to become an assassin.
I was reminded of Bridget Fonda in “The Point Of No Return” (based on “La Femme Nikita”), the story of another woman pulled up out of the gutter to learn how to use lethal force against an enemy. There are also elements of other strong women who know how to kick ass, such as those portrayed by Charlize Theron in “Atomic Blonde,” Angelina Jolie in “Salt,” and Jennifer Garner in “Peppermint.”
“The Rhythm Section” was produced by Barbara Broccoli, who runs the James Bond empire and once has said her famous spy will never be portrayed by a woman. Perhaps this is Broccoli’s attempt at beginning a multi-movie parallel series, even giving the reins to a female director, Reed Morano. Unfortunately, while the action sequences are fine and Lively more than holds her own, the story crumbles under the weight of its own predictability. Like the 2015 movie reboot of “The Man From U.N.C.L.E,” the hopes for a new film franchise don’t quite get off the ground.
I give “The Rhythm Section” a 6 out of 10.
This movie was only released in a few markets before COVID-19 forced theaters to close, but it is available on many streaming platforms as video-on-demand.