May 122020

The Rhythm Section is a failed attempt at the female-assassin subgenre despite having a fine actress in Blake Lively at the center, supported by Jude Law and Sterling K. Brown.



The Rhythm Section

Genre(s): Suspense/Thriller, Drama
Paramount | R – 109 min. – $39.99 | April 28, 2020

Date Published: 05/12/2020 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by: Reed Morano
Writer(s): Mark Burnell (novel) (screenplay)
Cast: Blake Lively, Jude Law, Sterling K. Brown

Features: Featurettes, Deleted Scenes
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray, DVD
Number of Discs: 2

Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 7.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.39
Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Spanish
Disc Size: 47.64 GB
Total Bitrate: 43.01 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C

Paramount provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 2.75/5

Plot Synopsis: Stephanie Patrick (BLAKE LIVELY) is a woman on a path of self-destruction after her family is tragically killed in a plane crash. When she discovers from a reporter that the wreck was no accident, Stephanie enters the dark, complex world of international espionage seeking vengeance. Her search leads to Iain Boyd (JUDE LAW), a former MI6 agent who trains her to hunt down those responsible. With nothing left to lose, Stephanie transforms from victim to assassin and discovers that neither revenge nor the truth is what they appear.

Review: While not a popular subgenre of the female assassin, there have been plenty of solid entries, going back to 1991 with Luc Besson’s La Femme Nikita, its American remake Point of No Return, 2010’s Salt starring Angelina Jolie, Atomic Blonde from 2017 with Charlize Theron and most recently, the Besson-directed Anna with a supermodel in the lead. All of these movies had their faults, well La Femme Nikita was rather great from my memory, but in the end they at least had a solid structure and ultimately entertaining.

The Rhythm Section is none of these things. Starring Blake Lively, who is a beautiful woman and a strong enough of an actress (acquitted herself well in The Shallows), here the filmmakers make her as homely as possible, it’s superficial for sure, but seeing a sexy woman kicking ass is one of the selling points in the aforementioned films discussed prior. Beyond the physical aspects, Lively was fine here, it’s her character that never quite worked, this would’ve been true no matter who was in the role. It’s a bridge too far taking an average woman, emotionally damaged along with the drug use, and turning her into at least a capable fighter. Even when being trained by an ex-spy portrayed by Jude Law — who disappears from the film in the third act save for a voice over the phone and a stinger scene at the end — can’t make it all that believable. For his part, Law didn’t offer a whole lot, although still possesses some charm I suppose.

The direction, from filmmaker Reed Morano marks her third feature film (Meadowland, I Think We’re Alone Now) as well as some television work (The Handmaid’s Tale), and prior was a cinematographer for Frozen River and The Skeleton Twins, two very solid dramas. So Morano has the talent but, and perhaps the fault of a script adapted by Mark Burnell from his own novel, or to sloppy editing, this was needlessly complex and oft confusing.

Another issue, this can be a tad dry, dare I say even boring, at times. Despite some of the advertising, there’s not a whole lot of action save for a one-shot like car chase sequence that wasn’t all that interesting in itself (though I’m sure plenty of technical work went into it, reportedly taking a week to shoot), and a couple of explosions perhaps to jolt the audience to awaken.

Now, with all of that said, and acknowledging The Rhythm Section is not a good movie – and has an even worse title – I found some of this semi-enjoyable, more or less a time-waster. I could not recommend this as a rental but one day when it’ll be free to watch on Netflix or Amazon Prime, maybe then it’d be worthwhile.



This release comes with a glossy slip cover and inside is a Digital HD copy.

Deleted/Extended Scenes (17:30) — Six scenes here either trimmed down or eliminated. None really add anything to the story, perhaps some more character moments, but that’s about it.

Stephanie’s Journey (7:53) is a featurette on the character with comments by Lively, Law and others intermixed with some behind-the-scenes footage.

Fight or Flight (6:10) takes a look at the prep work for the fight scenes.

Never Leave Second Gear (6:11) — Chronicles the car chase sequence.

One Shot Explosion (2:18) — Short featurette that breaks down a scene from a bus to the street.

Designing The Rhythm Section (2:38) on the production design.


VIDEO – 4.5/5

Paramount turns on The Rhythm Section onto Blu-ray where its shown with a 2.39 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer. The video here looks pretty good, or at least on par with any new release, with sharp and well defined details, natural skin tones and showcases the various locales from Scotland to Madrid. Nothing here overly outstanding but still a pleasant enough transfer.

AUDIO – 4.75/5

The disc includes a 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio track that does get mostly utilized particularly with the three or four action/thriller scenes, while also outputting some clear dialogue through the center speaker.


OVERALL – 2.75/5

The Rhythm Section is a failed attempt at the female-assassin subgenre despite having a fine actress in Blake Lively at the center, supported by Jude Law and Sterling K. Brown. This is the kind of movie to check out for free on a streaming service or buy on the cheap, otherwise skip.


 05/12/2020  Blu-ray Reviews Tagged with: , ,

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