Audiences have quickly become familiar with Chadwick Boseman thanks to his turns as Black Panther in Captain America: Civil War, soul man James Brown in Get On Up, and color barrier-breaking baseball player Jackie Robinson in 42. But will they turn out to see him get revenge in his own action thriller?
Message from the King stars Chadwick Boseman as Jacob King, a man who comes to Los Angeles to find his sister Bianca, who has suddenly lost contact with him. Tracking her movements leads him to a seedy underbelly of crime and drugs where some dangerous people aren’t very happy that he’s trying to find out what happened to Bianca. But King isn’t easily intimated by this band of thugs, who are led by Alfred Molina and Luke Evans.
Watch the Message from the King trailer below, but beware because there’s a quick flash of nudity in there.
This looks like a standard revenge thriller with Chadwick Boseman getting his own Taken-style role, but it has quite an impressive supporting cast that also includes Teresa Palmer. However, the reviews out of its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last fall don’t give me much confidence in the final product: A review from Variety calls Message From the King an “ugly and oddly unengaging revenge tale” while Brian Tallerico at RogerEbert.com wrote:
“Message From the King eventually gets so grimy that you want to wash it off. I don’t have a problem with movies that explore dark territory, but said exploration demands something in exchange. It could be clever dialogue, interesting characters, thematic depth—whatever it may be, we need a reason to venture into Dante’s Inferno, and “Message from the King” doesn’t really provide one.”
Still, maybe there’s enough action and a compelling enough performance to make this a thriller worth watching. If anything, it can serve as a nice appetizer for those who are waiting patiently to see Chadwick Boseman kick ass as Black Panther in his own solo movie next year.
Message from the King is directed by Belgian filmmaker Fabrice Du Welz (Colt 45, Calvaire) with a script by Oliver Butcher and Stephen Cornwell, who also wrote Unknown for director Jaume Collet-Serra. Here’s the official synopsis:
After suddenly losing all contact with his younger sister, Jacob King (Chadwick Boseman) arrives in Los Angeles determined to track her down. Trying to piece together her last known movements, King finds unsettling evidence of a life gone off the rails – drugs, sex and secrets in the sleazy underbelly of the City of Angels. Undeterred by warnings to go home, King proves to more than a match for the violence he is confronted with as he relentlessly pursues the truth about what happened to his sister.
Message from the King is slated to hit France in May, but doesn’t have a US release date yet.
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