Review by Sean Boelman
It seems that the natural progression of an actor’s career these days is to go from being a superhero to being an action star in big-budget Netflix movies. Jason Momoa’s contribution to that canon, Sweet Girl, is mostly forgettable but plenty sufficient to satisfy viewers checking it out as a part of their monthly subscription.
The film follows a man who sets out on a mission to punish those who were involved in the death of his wife to cancer, all the while protecting his daughter from a dangerous conspiracy. It’s interesting to see that the film attempts to position itself as something more than a basic revenge thriller when it is so clearly satisfied with the lowest common denominator.
For the first twenty or so minutes of the film, it seems as if this is going to be a searing indictment of Big Pharma and how corruption in capitalism has more harmful effects than it initially appears. But once the action gets off the ground, it becomes evident that these bigger ideas were coincidental, not purposeful.
The pacing of the film is also less than satisfying. Although the first act does a great job of making us care about the story, a time jump (and accompanying tonal shift) effectively undoes any connection that viewers will have. Even the action-packed portion of the film peaks early, with the last twenty minutes feeling especially stagnant after a laughable, albeit unexpected, reveal.
One of the biggest flaws in Gregg Hurwitz and Philip Eisner’s script is that there isn’t enough of an investment in the central father-daughter relationship. That easily could have stood out as a strong emotional core for the film, but everything we see in that regard is painfully generic and sometimes even cold.
Momoa’s performance in the leading role is mostly strong, but what is surprising is that he does better in the quieter, more emotional moments in the first act than he does delivering his lines during the action. Isabela Merced gives a solid turn as well, although there isn’t anything that really stands out from her.
For what it is, the film is shot well enough, but viewers will undoubtedly be left wishing that there had been a bit more creativity to the action. The most exciting sequence in the film comes early, and the rest is downhill from there. The film never looks bad, but it’s pretty much the same thing we have seen over and over again.
Sweet Girl is another entirely watchable piece of content to be discovered and soon forgotten in the sea of titles available on Netflix. There are a lot of elements here that work, but it is never able to exceed expectations.
Sweet Girl is now streaming on Netflix.