Review by Dan Skip Allen
Melissa McCarthy has been working with her husband Ben Falcone for years now. They have made several movies together in the past including Tammy, The Boss, and Life of the Party. He has also acted with his wife a few other times, usually getting the short end of the stick, getting beat up or made fun of. There is no difference in Thunder Force either. Even though he directed this one he still gets tazered in the face and knocked out by his boss. That's the tone of the film.
Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer play childhood friends Lydia and Emily. One is a sports and rock-n-roll fan who loves Chicago. She also does everything spontaneously at a drop of a hat and doesn't think before she does things. The other thinks about everything she does. She's very analytical in all of her decisions and gets annoyed at the other for not thinking about what she does more and how it affects people. Even though they're friends, they seem like opposites of one another.
Thunder Force is full of pop culture references from sports and television in the '80s. That's what decade these ladies grew up in. McCarthy's character is a bit of a tough girl while Spencer's is a bit of a smart girl. They both become friends and teach each other about their differences such as music and educational stuff like spelling. They both have a lot to learn at this age.
If you have a movie about superheroes you need supervillains. Bobby Cannavale plays the main supervillain. He is known as The King, a man who's running for mayor of Chicago. His henchmen, Laser and The Crab, are played by Pom Klementieff (Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2) and Jason Bateman (Ozark), respectively. These are your mustache-twirling bad guys. They are very funny but effective in their performances opposite McCarthy and Spencer.
Most of McCarthy's films haven't been that good in her career. She's had the occasional gem such as St. Vincent or Can You Ever Forgive Me?, for the latter of which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. That being said, she's had more films in her career that are duds. Thunder Force has some funny moments in it and it relies on a lot of superhero moments to save the film. It's the story that is the reason that this film succeeds the most. It has a lot of heart to it that I enjoyed.
With a movie that has the title Thunder Force, it makes sense that they have a catchy song to go along with it. And this film has a great rock song in the credits. Stay all the way through to listen to the great lyrics by Corey Taylor (Slipknot), Lizzy Hale (Halestorm), Scott Ian (Anthrax), Dave Lombardo (Slayer), and Tina Guo an electric cellist. They join the composer Fil Eisler on this awesome rock song that gets you into the mood for this film.
At first glance, Thunder Force might just be another campy vehicle written and directed by her husband Ben Falcone for McCarthy to eat up the scenery and have a lot of fun running around in superhero costumes with Spencer. It's not though! It has a story about oddballs becoming friends and how their differences can help them in a difficult world around them full of miscreants. This was a fun film. Families all around the world should watch this film and take it for what it is worth. Netflix has done well getting into business with McCarthy and company.
Thunder Force is now streaming on Netflix.