For his third film as director, J.D. Dillard adapts the 2017 biography Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice by author Adam Makos. The film shortens the title to Devotion and introduces audiences to the comradeship between naval officers Jesse Brown (Jonathan Majors) and Tom Hudner (Glen Powell) during the Korean War.
Jason Momoa seeks justice in Sweet Girl
Jason Momoa takes a break from superhero antics to collaborate with director Brian Andrew Mendoza in Netflix’s action-thriller Sweet Girl. Ray Cooper (Jason Momoa) is a devoted family man seeking justice against the man. His target is the pharmaceutical company responsible for pulling a potentially life-saving drug from the market just before his wife (Adria Arjona) dies from cancer. Ray’s search for the truth leads to a deadly encounter that puts him and his daughter Rachel (Isabela Merced) in harm’s way. Now Ray’s mission turns into a quest for vengeance to protect the only family he has left.
The script for Sweet Girl arrives from the pen of Philip Eisner, Gregg Hurwitz, and Will Staples. The trio of scribes opens their film with a frame story introducing Ray in Pittsburgh on the run from the police. We then flashback to Ray in happier times with his family before we learn the matriarch of the family has terminal cancer. Ray and Rachel are heartbroken. To matters, worse Pharmaceutical CEO Simon Keely (Justin Bartha) recently blocked a cheaper version of the meds that may have saved her.
One day, an anonymous phone call from a reporter tips Ray off that Simon is using illegal means to profit any way he can. Ray and Rachel soon find themselves on the run from a mysterious hitman (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo). All while trying to stay one-step ahead of a determined detective (Lex Scott Davis).
Brian Andrew Mendoza makes his feature directorial debut with Sweet Girl. Mendoza has worked with the film’s star Jason Momoa on three films in the past. Early on in the film, Mendoza shows off a bit of Momoa’s natural athleticism. However, one of the surprising things about Sweet Girl is that the script never paints Ray as a full-on alpha male. I found the early scenes with Ray and his wife touching. Jason Momoa shows genuine emotion after his wife passes away.
Now don’t worry, there are some action sequences of Momoa kicking some ass, but the film never turns into an unstoppable killing machine with plot armor. Isabela Merced continues to add to her already impressive resume with another solid acting credit. Merced has excellent chemistry with Momoa, and the two have a natural bond as father and daughter. Merced also gets a chance to show off her athleticism, and I would not mind seeing her in an action film.
Outside of Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as the mysterious hitman, the supporting cast all fall into the typical characters arch types for a film of this sort. Amy Brenneman portrays a senator trying to fight for the little guy. At the same time, Justin Bartha is a scrupulous businessman who needs a good punch in the face. However, it is always great to see Lex Scott Davis on screen in some capacity.
A plot twist happens during the last thirty minutes of Sweet Girl that caught me off guard. While I will not go into detail about the twist, I can say that once I thought about the film’s events, the twist did work. That said, if you can, go into Sweet Girl blind if possible.
In the end, Sweet Girl comes off as a passion project for star Jason Momoa who is also one of the film’s producers. Momoa appears to be making a habit of appearing in big budget are while juggling small fare movies. That said, I do recommend Sweet Girl for a stream.
Final Grade: B-
More to explorer
Director Michael Maler follows up last year’s inspirational sports drama Heart of Champions with the mystery The Minute You Wake Up Dead from Lionsgate. Russ Porter (Cole Hauser) is a shady small-town stockbroker who just lost some of the townies a considerable amount of money. He begins dating a shy waitress named Delane (Jamie Alexander) to take away some of the stress in his life.
French director Romuald Boulanger collaborates with Mel Gibson for his second feature Saban Films’ thriller On The Line. Elvis Cooney (Mel Gibson) is a Los Angeles-based, provocative, and edgy overnight radio host who must play a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a mysterious caller while live on the air. Initially, Elvis thinks the whole thing is a joke until the caller, who calls himself Gary, kidnaps his family and threatens to kill them.
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