Sweet Girl Review: Jason Momoa's revenge drama serves enough punches but lacks emotional depth

Updated on Aug 21, 2021 11:17 AM IST  |  126K
   
Jason Momoa's Sweet Girl releases on August 20
Jason Momoa starrer Sweet Girl releases on August 20
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Sweet Girl

Sweet Girl Cast: Jason Momoa, Isabela Merced

Sweet Girl Director: Brian Andrew Mendoza

Streaming Platform: Netflix

Sweet Girl Stars: 2.5/5

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Universal healthcare is already a topic touchy enough to get many people riled up and in Jason Momoa's latest film, Sweet Girl, it takes the center stage as the revenge drama finds its protagonists fighting against big pharmaceutical companies and the healthcare system while trying to protect a loved one. One has to also observe how the film comes at an already sensitive time amid the pandemic which has caused healthcare systems across the globe to undergo a strong test of character.

In Momoa's film, however, the lines are defined clear quite early on about how big pharma companies are the bad guy. Staying true to every revenge drama template, the film finds its lead hunting down those who wronged him, in this case, those who came in the way of Ray Cooper's (Jason Momoa) wife Amanda (Adria Arjona) from receiving the cancer medicine that could have saved her life. The film takes off with a flashback of Ray fleeing from the police, cut to a few years back and we learn about why. We're introduced to his family which consists of his ailing wife Amanda and daughter Rachel (Isabela Merced).

After the family finds hope about the possibility of a cheap generic version of Amanda’s costly medications to be made available to her, Ray (Momoa) and Rachel (Merced) find themselves celebrating. Although their happiness remains short-lived as the opportunity is taken away from them after the 'big bad guys' at BioPrime healthcare quash their plans to provide affordable medication. This move makes the CEO of the pharma company, Simon Keeley (Justin Bartha) the first name on Ray's list to avenge his wife's death after she passes away. Thus, what ensues ahead is Ray going on a violent spree of hunting down everyone whom he deems responsible for his wife's death.

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There's a point in the film after Ray's wife dies that we see Momoa trying to hide away from everyone at the hospital, just to find an empty spot where he can finally let go and break down. He eventually does and that emotional vulnerability which we see him in is the side of his character that needed to be developed more in the film. What we get though is his angered version, the one where we see him throw more punches than dialogues. At the very beginning of the film, Momoa even gets his Liam Neeson moment as he threatens Keeley (Justin Bartha) that he will "hunt him down and kill him with his bare hands" during a phone call exchange, taking us back to the famed Taken dialogue. Considering there's little background given about his character, like what he does or how he met his wife and the life he head before her death, we can't make much of Ray apart from the fact that his wife's passing has made him a bitter man who is on the run. Yet, Momoa makes the most of what he can and keeps the pace up for the drama with his skillful action chops.

One of the biggest downsides for this film though is that it remains simplistic in its treatment in terms of direction and hence there's no way for it to hide its screenplay flaws. With the plot itself setting its bar low, everything then rests on the performances. While Momoa does a fine job when it comes to delivering the action scenes it's not enough to keep us engaged at all points. The father-daughter scenes between Momoa and Merced work better though some come across as ill-placed and hence fail to make a strong emotional connection. A twist at the end tries to push the film out of its obvious predictability but it isn't adapted cleverly enough to blow your mind, yet one cannot deny it's jaw-dropping and hence does make you take notice of it. It does seem like a hurried attempt at salvaging the film's otherwise fractured plot.

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It's unfortunate that the film manages to focus all its energy on violence and to make it a means to an end situation. Despite the outdated concept though, it will appeal to those who find themselves invested in the revenge genre films that majorly follow the same formula.

Apart from Momoa, Isabela Merced who was also seen in Netflix's Instant Family does make a strong impression. She manages to hold her own in frames where you'd think Momoa would easily take the cake, like the one where the duo indulges in a boxing game. Perhaps, a little more depth into Merced's character could have also given this film the much-needed push. Their father-daughter connection does come through for the film and does save the film at many points.

ALSO READ: Jason Momoa reveals two ‘personal’ items he can’t live without & they have a special connection to his kids

With Momoa and Merced at its lead, Sweet Girl seems like a missed opportunity at being a film that could have shown the Game Of Thrones in a different light with more emotional baggage to punch than corrupt businessmen and assassins. As for Merced, it shows that the 20-year-old actress has much more to offer and her potential certainly does not get lost in this film. 

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