‘Thunder Force’ movie review: Much ado over mutants


Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer struggle to deliver the laughs in this superhero-sisterhood comedy

Though Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer have been friends for 25 years, Thunder Force is the first time they are working together. It is unfortunate that the movie to bring these two enormously talented women together is so underwhelming.

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McCarthy and Spencer star as childhood friends Lydia and Emily. The characterisation is also predictable: the smart, follow-the-rules Emily and the wild child Lydia. Meanwhile, Chicago is overrun by super-powered sociopaths called Miscreants. When they kill Emily’s geneticist parents, who were working on a way to turn ordinary people into superheroes, Emily decides to follow in her parents’ footsteps.

Lydia’s free-and-easy ways causes a rift in their relationship and the two grow apart—Emily becomes a super successful geneticist, while Lydia stays in town. Emily’s triumphant return to Chicago and a school reunion seem like the perfect time to mend broken bridges. Things don’t go according to plan, they rarely do, and the duo end up becoming the Miscreant-hunting duo, Thunder Force. Lydia is super-strong as a result of an accident with a loaded syringe, while Emily can turn invisible.

Thunder Force

  • Director: Ben Falcone
  • Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Octavia Spencer, Bobby Cannavale, Pom Klementieff, Kevin Dunn, Melissa Leo, Jason Bateman
  • Storyline: Two estranged friends become superheroes to clean the town of super villains
  • Duration: 107 minutes

Against the backdrop of a mayoral election, the two discover a dastardly plot while rediscovering each other. Thunder Force works in fits and starts, and that is largely due to the talented cast. Jason Bateman as The Crab, the “half-creant” as he describes himself, is engaging. Bobby Cannavale chews up the scenery as mayoral candidate, The King who gets annoyed with people dropping the article in his name. Melissa Leo has a whale of a time as organiser and fellow geneticist, Allie. Apart from writing and directing Thunder Force, Ben Falcone also stars as Kenny, a bumbling thug.

Stuff that raises a little chuckle (definitely not a guffaw) include the quasi-bad guy, Andrew’s dissertation on his name, the need to rethink the purple Lamborghini as the superheroes’ vehicle of choice, the fact that the superhero costumes smell a little ripe but cannot be washed, the “Tay in the wind” Jodie Foster impression, and lines such as, “When life gives you lemons, make lemon-flavoured napalm.” Unfortunately they are few and far in between.

Thunder Force is currently streaming on Netflix

 



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