The shortest description of Sweet Girl is “Jason Momoa against big pharma,” but there’s more going on in this action movie than just revenge on rogue pill-turners. Unfortunately, the makers choke on their ambitions.
Jason Momoa is a standout among today’s action stars. Okay, he’s big, wide and full of tattoos, just like Dwayne Johnson and Dave Bautista, but with his hairy head and disarming smile, he most resembles a cross between a hippie and a biker. After Game of Thrones and Aquaman, this offers opportunities in the field of acting and he takes them with Sweet Girl, an action film in which he plays a man who shows as much emotion as he has muscles.
Momoa plays Cooper, an ordinary man who has to deal with a lot of adversity. First, his wife is diagnosed with cancer, then the drug that could make her better is withdrawn from the market, and finally the inevitable happens: she dies. Now he’s on his own with his teenage daughter, but he’s not going to let it go. Dirty games in the pharmaceutical industry are responsible for his misery, so he takes a heavy-handed approach to the big bosses.
By the standards of an action movie, Momoa and Isabela Merced, who plays his daughter, are given enough time and space to make the more intimate scenes work. But every time the pace picks up and the chases and fights take over, the weaknesses in the scenario become apparent. Things get off to a bad start when Cooper has a meeting with a journalist who knows more about the rotten corporation’s practices. It serves purely as plot info, but the way it is written leads to a totally unbelievable conversation. And there will be many more such moments.
Not only inform, but also in content is wrong. Just when you think how can this common man grab those high-security CEOs to teach them a lesson, they just walk out of their safe boardrooms for some vague reason so Cooper can get them. The baddies are very flat anyway, with the exception of a mercenary who thinks himself so great that he talks more than shoots: he is especially bloody irritating.
And then the twist. We won’t reveal anything of course, but towards the end of the film the film takes a turn that puts a large part of the events in a new light. At least, that’s what the authors undoubtedly intended. But the truth is that on balance it all doesn’t matter. This superfluous grip does not become the wow moment that the makers had in mind, but a silly trick that also fails.
We get what Jason Momoa saw in this movie: he gets a chance to put more humanity into his role than is usual for this kind of action work. It is not his fault, but the writers should have looked critically at their script before the cameras started rolling. In this form, you especially remember the crooked dialogues, unbelievable complications and a pointless twist.