Grieving husbands, fathers, and even dog owners are the lifeblood of the revenge thriller, a genre that uses violence to reflect the anxieties of their audiences. At their best, revenge thrillers deliver the catharsis of the aggrieved hero triumphing over the evils of society – corrupt political systems, terrorist groups and human traffickers. The innovation in the otherwise indescribable action flick “Sweet Girl” is that here, the obscure organization employing hitmen and escaping justice is a healthcare business.
Ray (Jason Momoa) is a father lost in the grief of his beloved wife, who died of cancer. He is haunted by the idea that his death was preventable, if only Bioprime, a powerful medical research company, had not stopped a generic version of a patented cancer drug from reaching the market. Ray is contacted by a reporter looking to write an article about the company, but the reporter is murdered during their conversation. Ray and his teenage daughter Rachel (Isabela Merced) are witnesses to this.
Years go by, but Ray’s obsession with the Bioprime plot never goes away. He seeks insurance executives, but his attempts to elicit answers result in fatal encounters with private security. Ray’s investigation turns into a rampage, and through it all, Rachel stays by his side.
For this action film, director Brian Andrew Mendoza favors a utilitarian style. Its color palette leans towards grays, blues and browns. Its fight scenes aren’t flashy, or even particularly memorable, but they are clear, effectively conveying needed information about the fist the face is connected to. The simplicity of the visuals means there’s not much to distract from the way the characters were chosen in the film’s morality play – a family clashes with the modern medicine organized crime syndicate.
Rated R for violence and strong language. Duration: 1 hour 50 minutes. Watch on Netflix.