My Rating: 2.25/5
Sweet Girl is a 2021 American action thriller film directed by Brian Andrew Mendoza in his feature directorial debut and written by Philip Eisner and Gregg Hurwitz.
A man vows to bring justice to those responsible for his wife’s death while protecting the only family he has left — his daughter.
Ray (Jason Momoa, Zack Snyder’s Justice League) is slowly watching his wife, Amanda ( 6 Underground), die from cancer. While dealing with his own grief and uncertainty, Ray tried to keep it together for his daughter, Rachel (Isabel Merced).
He’s maxed out credit cards, refinanced everything to give her another shot at life once it recurs. There is a chance thanks to an experimental new drug that has some encouraging results, but a big pharma company pays to keep it off the shelf.
How else can the pharma execs buy their fifth yacht if people suddenly are getting cured from cancer at a less exorbitant rate?
Like any sensible person, Ray calls in and promises to hunt down Keeley and kill him if his wife dies. Gotta think some producer is losing their job for letting that full threat make the air…
Amanda eventually does die and Ray gets a call from a reporter alleging a big shadowy pharma conspiracy. The reporter seemed a bit paranoid right up until the point he gets killed and the assassin (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo) goes after him.
Right at this point is when the script by Gregg Hurwitz and Phillip Eisner starts to get wonky. The thought that Big Pharma has assassins on speed dial to kill investigative reporters seems far fetched.
Momoa is always in a tough spot on normal action roles. With his trademark long hair and fierce goatee, the dude looks like the gladiator final boss that’s gonna require multiple micro transaction power ups to beat.
Even when he plays a character that’s not a barbarian superhero, Momoa can’t hide his size or the elite level intimidation factor. This is a problem throughout Sweet Girl as Ray gets into these lengthy slugfests with guys sometimes half his size.
Alright, but what if these guys are just better trained? Director Brian Andrew Mendoza makes a point to show extended sequences with Ray doing some boxing.
Clearly Ray should be able to put a credible beat down on any of Pharma’s assassins on speed dial. While the action scenes rarely hold up, Momoa handles his lead role just fine. He’s that one worthwhile film away from being a major action superstar beyond Aquaman.
Undeterred, Ray decided to make good on his threat — ninja style infiltrating a expensive benefit gala. Keeley says it’s to benefit Africa before getting corrected and he drunkenly laughs it off to reinforce he’s a jerk in need of getting his throat sliced. At least he’s not shooting himself off into space with all his tax relief funding…
Ray tries, but can’t bring himself to kill Keeley proving he’s not big on honoring his promises. Keeley clearly isn’t thankful for this act of mercy and sics his goon squad of random henchmen — Big Pharma has a large supply of guys with flexible morals at the ready apparently.
This sends Ray and Rachel on the run trying to avoid Keeley’s guys and police detective Sarah Meeker (Lex Scott Davis), the one officer interested in hearing Rachel’s side.
Not enough time passes for Rachel to suddenly look like she’s about to wrap up college making the switch extremely bizarre. The way Rachel is written it would make more sense for her to be a young 11-year-old anyway.
Throughout this big chase, Rachel tried to get Meeker’s attention focused on Keeley, which is incredibly shaky logic. Sure Keeley is a scumbag who acts like a comic book villain, but pinning anything on him is a stretch.
Sweet Girl as a whole is one long extended reach. It’s a film of illogical decisions, random coincidences and lackluster action.
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