I have to admit that while things have been fun for the most part, the time-loop movie seems to be becoming a bit of a cliche. While everyone and their mother loves 'Groundhog Day' as a sort of feel-good time-loop movie, others like to take the trend of the same day beginning again after death; most prevalent in my mind being 'The Edge of Tomorrow' and 'Happy Death Day'. This one adds a bit of a video game twist to things, however, and becomes another fairly solid video game movie that isn't actually a video game movie. While it remains a bit cliche in its execution, I can't deny the over-the-top fun factor this film still has.
As the film opens, we get an inner monologue from ex Delta Force soldier, Roy Pulver (Frank Grillo) who gives us about 17-minutes worth of exposition. He takes us through his repeated day, as several people try to kill him while mentioning that he often slips up and has to do it all over again. Much like several times of practice with any video game, he eventually gets it all down, but I have to appreciate that the film takes slight human error into account - for example, at one point he simply stubs his toe, allowing for just enough distraction for someone to shoot him. While it's a long time before the story really gets going, it's still a fun sequence, and I can't deny a few laughs. In this time, the film lets you know what it is, and the idea of not taking it seriously is almost instantaneous.
On his 48th attempt to survive this day, Roy attempts to call his estranged wife, Jemma Welles (Naomi Watts), but the phone is instead picked up by Dynow Labs' head of defense, Col. Clive Ventor (Mel Gibson) who informs him that Jemma is dead due to an accident. Roy knows that the time loop he's stuck in is tied to Jemma in some way, due to a strange visit they had the day before he got himself trapped. He then spends the time formulating a revenge plot, while getting answers to his questions slowly revealed to him with each trial and error attempt. Some of these answers could spell out the end of the world if Roy doesn't come through.
Things are fairly basic here, and not much comes as a surprise while you're watching it. But if you're a dude looking for a fun action movie with a dark sense of humor and a whole lot of violence, this could be right up your alley. As many like to put it, including myself, this is straight up "dude porn" in that regard. It's just your average balls-to-the-wall action flick that will allow you to throw your brain out the window for a couple of hours, and revel in the shoot-em-up gore that we all find so satisfying after a really bad day. Again, it does it all with a dark sense of humor as well. Although, I will admit that there's a line or two here that might make one cringe and think it awkward - especially when delivered by Mel Gibson at one particular point. You will know it when you hear it.
The film comes to us from director Joe Carnahan who also did 'The A-Team' and 'Smokin' Aces'. So to say that this is a dumb action movie that's perfectly enjoyable just for the fun of it shouldn't come as much of a surprise. It's currently available for rent for a decent, non-gouging price online, and I'd actually highly recommend it for anyone looking for such a film. One could almost watch this in place of whatever games they are playing on their PS5's (if, God willing, they managed to get their hands on one). It's a movie to have fun with, not take seriously, and just enjoy the thrill.