Director: Brian Andrew Mendoza
Cast: Jason Momoa, Isabella Merced and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo
Actor Jason Momoa's latest release Sweet Girl had the potential to be a riveting action-thriller with a strong emotional core but it ends up being nothing more than a colossal disappointment.
The biggie revolves around Ray Cooper, a caring husband who is willing to move heaven and earth to save his wife from cancer. His world comes crashing down when a corporate giant pulls a potentially life-saving drug from the market, resulting in his better half's death. Following this, he decides to get even with those responsible for the tragedy.
The basic plot follows the classic 'underdog vs the system' formula and fails to rise above cliches. The problem is compounded by the rushed screenplay that dilutes the impact of an already underwhelming narrative.
Solid opening scene
Broadly speaking, a film with an action-packed narrative needs to have a riveting opening sequence in order to connect with the audience. The Crow, a relatively small film that has attained cult status over the years, is a case in point. The Brandon Lee-starrer began on a gruesome note that highlighted the tragic fate. Sweet Girl follows the formula as it begins with a fairly well-executed scene that builds an aura around the protagonist.
Things, however, soon go downhill as the half-baked character development makes it impossible for one to relate to or invest in the reel action. The sequences revolving around the death of the hero's wife barely register as they are as rushed as can be, which deprives the flick of its emotional fulcrum. The rest of the film mainly features action set pieces, which cater to only die-hard fans of the genre.
Not punchy enough
Gripping punchlines are the hallmark of an action saga and can help it rise above its flaws. Sylvester Stallone's Rambo: Last Blood, for example, clicked with fans of the franchise despite its middling execution as it featured hard-hitting lines such as 'I'm gonna tear you apart'. This is exactly where Sweet Girl falters as none of the lines make any impact whatsoever.
Bold yet ineffective twist
The sequences involving Momoa and his reel daughter prove to be the saving grace of Sweet Girl. They, however, would have worked a lot better had the writing been up to the mark. There is a twist towards the end, which fails to satisfy the audience as it isn't convincing.
Momoa deserved better
Momoa tries to salvage the film with his sincere performance but finds limited success. He is good in the action sequences as they suit his reel image. The Aquaman star, however, isn't too convincing in the emotional scenes. Isabela Merced delivers the goods towards the end, proving that she has tremendous potential. Talented performers such as Manuel Garcia-Rulfo and Amy Brenneman are burdened with one-dimensional characters that fail to do justice to their abilities.
The background music fails to elevate the narrative as it feels quite generic. The editing is lacklustre as the film drags at several points especially in the opening hour. The other technical aspects have been handled with a fair degree of competence.