Sweet Girl (2021) – Reel Review

Director: James Gunn | 1h 49mins | Action, Drama, Thriller

After losing his wife to cancer Ray Cooper (Jason Mamoa) vows to bring justice to those who denied her life saving treatment. While in search of those who did his family wrong, Ray’s daughter Rachel (Isabel Merced) tries to keep him safe. 

In Netflix’s vast catalogue of original content you’ll find a plethora of action movies starring some of Hollywood’s top stars. Chris Hemsworth, Jamie Foxx, Ryan Reynolds and Charlize Theron have all been initiated into the streaming services backlog and next to join the group is Aquaman himself Jason Momoa. Dressed down and lacking that playful persona, Momoa’s presence still can’t lift Sweet Girl above the realm of mediocrity, unable to maintain it’s themes while being completely void of personality.

The opening of the film is an emotional, slightly jarring, montage of Ray and his family. Touching moments between Ray and his wife as well as his daughter, as they have to say their goodbyes. Mid-way through the montage we learn there’s a hope of survival as a new treatment is about to be FDA approved, only for it to be taken off the market by a major corporation. This inspires Ray to go on a rampage to hunt down those responsible. 

The man vs. corporation is a nice idea, in fact for a lot of the film as Ray goes deeper and deeper with no real answers the sense of lost hope really begins to show. Corporations seem like an easy villain in films but it’s because of the reality behind it. However, as the film unravels and reaches its climax, it gets completely lost in it’s own attempt at the spectacular. 

Without spoiling what the film believes to be its ‘big moment’, we discover a sort of fantastical element that’s been at play from the beginning. It’s a twist that’s comparable to Shyamalan at his worst, making the climax of the film strange and off-tone as well as depleting any thematic progress the film has made along the way. It feels very off the cuff more so than a well implemented idea and while films can often be made better by a twist, Sweet Girl sheds any sense of quality it had cemented before that moment. 

The ‘Sweet Girl’, a title that is horribly forgettable, refers to Ray’s daughter. A head-strong character that acts as her Father’s morality counterpart who eventually plays a big part in the film. Isabela Merced gives a great performance, showing why she’s been one of the breakout stars of the past few years but, having such a key part in the films ‘big twist’, even her performance becomes gimmicky and wasted. 

Despite it’s quite touching start and admiral themes, Sweet Girl never quite gets going. As for it’s twist, it’s less shocking and more of a feeble attempt to heighten the entertainment which fails miserably. Momoa and Merced are trying their best, but eventually Sweet Girl will fade into obscurity and join the ranks of multiple other Netflix Action films that have become lost in archives of the Netflix catalogue.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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