Sweet Girl Synopsis: A devastated husband (Jason Momoa) vows to bring justice to the people responsible for his wife’s death while protecting the only family he has left, his daughter (Isabela Merced).
With his flowing locks and burly physique, Jason Momoa boasts the picturesque image of a modern-day action star. Unfortunately, aside from the blockbuster success of Aquaman, most of the star’s actioner vehicles have underserved him at every turn (his big-screen debut to most was the dreadful Conan the Barbarian reboot).
The same is true about his latest actioner, the Netflix-produced Sweet Girl. The film follows Moma as a grieving husband battling against corporate medical agency’s malpractice, but the narrative is frankly irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Sweet Girl is yet another half-baked and abysmally-assembled romp through tired action movie formula.
To his credit, Moma does his best to hold the material together. His blend of personable charisma and sufficient dramatic capabilities keeps the thankless narrative somewhat afloat as the film races from setpiece to setpiece. Similar to his last streaming actioner Braven, the favoring of intimate hand-to-hand fights also fits his stature well, with Moma dispatching numerous goons with presence and machismo panache (both this and Braven utilize axes and handmade traps with clever results). I appreciate Moma’s work – he’s a relic from a bygone era where sturdy stars carried middling actioners through their sheer force of nature.
That said, Sweet Girl can’t execute the genre’s formula at even an adequate level. Gregg Hurwitz and Philip Eisner’s screenplay is as studio manufactured as it gets, frontloading audiences with a heaping of melodramatic exposition without developing a genuine reason to invest (the “dying parent” trope only serves as an emotionally manipulative gimmick). I’d be remissed to call the film’s attempts at inditing the inequitable healthcare industry subtext, as the seldom frames that attempt it blatantly spells the messaging out. The script is lacking across the board in terms of thought and care. It’s as boilerplate and studio-issued as it gets for action movies.
Where the script falters, the direction is equally underdelivered. Braven producer Brian Andrew Mendoza seems like an apt fit to take the director mantle, but the film’s visceral execution does little to elevate the proceedings. The action scenes frame everything through nauseating shaky-cam, restricting the brutal choreography from ever grabbing the audience’s attention. Each boilerplate sequences will only please the type of dad audience that digests these run-of-the-mill efforts on a weekly basis.
Sweet Girl barely exists. It’s a semi-competent yet painfully derivative fugitive actioner that will get lost amongst the ones and zeroes of Netflix’s algorithm.
Sweet Girl is now playing on Netflix.
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