“The Rhythm Section” stars Black Lively, Jude Law, Sterling K. Brown, and Max Casella. Released on January 31, 2020, the film is about a woman who is searching for the people responsible for the death of her family.
The film is directed by Reed Morano, who also directed “Meadowland” and “I Think We’re Alone Now”. It is based on the novel of the same name by the film’s writer, Mark Burnell. Another week, another action film for me to check out. January is finally reaching its end, but before we get to the main course in February, let’s take a look at the last two appetizers and see if they’re worth tasting, starting with this one. Truth be told, I wasn’t really excited for this film despite being a fan of the action genre, but I was willing to give it a shot because it had some pretty good actors like Lively and Law. It was originally going to come out last year, but wound up getting dumped into the pits of foulness, which is January, instead. This month has been generally kind to the action genre so far. The third “Bad Boys” installment proved that some long-awaited sequels are worth the wait, and “The Gentlemen” is a suitable return to Guy Ritchie’s action crime roots. Now we have a revenge-seeking thriller that’s hoping to conclude the action-filled month with a bang. Was it able to accomplish its task? Well, not exactly.
The first thing I want to mention is the film's plot. It's basically a generic, by-the-numbers revenge thriller that involves Lively's character going after the people who blew up the plane her family was on. While it had a couple of good ideas under its belt, the film failed to take advantage of them and relied a bit too much on its action cliches to move its narrative along. Not only that, but it also didn't provide enough depth in its characters and situations to make its plot as exciting as its action scenes. If you don't mind this type of flaw, you might like it a bit more than I did. Otherwise, there's nothing special about its storyline in general. But fear not, there were actually a couple of things that I happened to enjoy out of its generic plot, such as the character of Stephanie Patrick. I will easily admit that Blake Lively was able to carry the film with her stellar performance, but it was her character that stood out a bit for me. Rather than being portrayed as a formerly trained cop or marine or whatever, Stephanie is portrayed as an ordinary traumatized woman who’s haunted by the tragedy that took her family and has no fighting experience whatsoever. She’s willing to do what it takes to avenge her loved ones, even if it means becoming a killer. It’s her transition from being a defenseless woman to being a fighter that provided a small amount of interest in its formulaic plot. It also helped in providing some intensity in its action scenes, which were enjoyable for the most part, especially the car chase sequence that's shot in one continuous take. Jude Law was also good in his role as Iain Boyd, a former agent who trains Stephanie how to defend herself. The scenes involving Lively and Law together were honestly the best parts of the film in my opinion because of their amusing interactions between each other, which managed to prevent itself from being a total snooze-fest.
Overall, “The Rhythm Section” wasn’t able to find the right rhythm in its soul to deliver a compelling thrill ride for its mature audience. Despite a worthy performance from Lively and some enjoyable action scenes, the film is nothing but an uninspired and bland revenge tale that fails to stand out in the action crowd. There’s really not that much else to say about it because my interest in talking about it wasn’t as high as my interest in seeing it. If you don’t mind the formulaic storyline and just want to see it for the thrills, then by all means, go for it. If you want a revenge thriller that has a stronger and engaging narrative, however, this film won’t impress you that much.