Film: The Rhythm Section

There’s nothing particularly wrong with The Rhythm Section (2020), but there’s nothing exceptionally right with it either. The film stars Blake Lively as Stephanie Patrick, a British woman whose family is killed during a transatlantic flight during a terrorist attack. Stephanie has fallen on hard times, but an investigative journalist named Proctor (Raza Jaffrey) tracks her down, ultimately setting her on the path of the terrorists responsible. This eventually connects her with a former MI6 badass named Boyd (Jude Law), who knows more about the conspiracy that killed Stephanie’s family. Reluctantly, Boyd takes Stephanie under his wing, enabling her to train up to become an assassin and get revenge.

The Rhythm Section has a memorable flourish or two, including and especially a technically impressive car chase, and the thriller mechanics are decent. But ultimately the film is submarined by its uninteresting plot, a pro forma revenge scenario. In the hands of the right actor, it might still have led to an inexplicably successful action franchise—think Liam Neeson in the Taken movies—but Lively, while thoroughly professional, doesn’t quite have what it takes to elevate the hollow material to another level. The performances from Jaffrey, Law, and Sterling K. Brown are similarly workmanlike: fine, but generic. I’ve seen worse spy films, but for most viewers this is pretty skippable.

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