Having done absolutely no research on this myself and relying solely on what this movie has told me: the Affordable Care Act classified addictions as a must-treat disease, creating the opportunity for an economic boom in the health care industry. There are thousands of beds to be filled; the trick is in finding the bodies.
The Premise: Utah (Jack Kilmer) goes to treatment after a decade of crack and heroin.
The Verdict: This isn’t a story about an addict in recovery. This is the story of corruption in the treatment industry. The movie feels, and it’s probably fair to say that writer-director John Swab feels, that treatment centers are a scam. An actual multi-billion dollar fraud that relies on repeat customers so isn’t exactly invested in full recoveries, uses its few success stories to recruit other addicts into empty beds to keep the cash flowing in, and profits from relapse. It’s a scathingly cynical view of the world, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It reminds me of I Care A Lot – which dealt with corruption in nursing homes – in content if not delivery. Body Brokers lacks a certain gloss, a certain finesse, but if you’re in the mood to rage against the machine, this will get it done, and a grounded performance by Michael Kenneth Williams makes it go down that much easier.
Roy (Frank Grillo) is living the same day over and over. We catch up with him after he’s died about 40 times, only to wake up again to an assassin swinging a machete at his head, and even if he escapes that threat, Roy has discovered he is the target of many, many more killers. Eventually, one of them is going to get Roy, and once they do, he will restart his personal Groundhog Day again and again and again. Who are these killers and why do they want Roy dead? That’s what Roy will have to figure out in order to escape this time loop and save the world, with some help from his scientist ex-wife (Naomi Watts) and with serious opposition from her evil boss (Mel Gibson) and his sidekick (Will Sasso).
Did we need another time loop movie? Definitely not. But Boss Level is not the worst of the bunch. If you can look past some dumb dialogue, such as its insistence that Street Fighter II is an 80s sidescroller (which is so obviously wrong in so many ways), there is a decent action movie here. Again, not a great one, but a serviceable one. It’s no Groundhog Day, Edge of Tomorrow, or Palm Springs, as it doesn’t add anything new to the live/die/repeat genre, and doesn’t bother to even try.
Still, it’s a workable popcorn movie and we certainly haven’t had a lot of those lately. If you’re in the market for one of those, this will probably fit the bill, as long as you are willing to put up with a lack of originality, Mel Gibson’s involvement, and the repeated misclassification of a classic 2D fighting game that was released in 1991.