(UK/US - 2020)
Directed by Reed Morano. Written by Mark Burnell. Cast: Blake Lively, Jude Law, Sterling K. Brown, Max Casella, Geoff Bell, Raza Jaffrey, Richard Brake, Nasser Memarzia, Amira Ghazalla, Tawfeek Barhom. (R, 109 mins)
One of the rare non-James Bond projects for Eon Productions (along with recent and little-seen titles like 2017's FILM STARS DON'T DIE IN LIVERPOOL and 2018's NANCY), THE RHYTHM SECTION would appear to be an attempt by producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson (the daughter and stepson of Eon co-founder Albert R. "Cubby" Broccoli) to start another franchise in the 007 vein, this one based on the initial 1999 entry in author Mark Burnell's series of "Stephanie Patrick" espionage novels. But this was a troubled production that started shooting in late 2017 and had to be suspended for six months after star Blake Lively suffered a serious hand injury while working on an action sequence. A disastrous test screening in November 2018 led to a round of re-editing and it was bumped from February 2019 to November 2019, then again to the multiplex netherworld of January 2020, where the $50 million film grossed just under $3 million, giving it the dubious distinction of having the worst-ever opening weekend for a movie bowing on more than 3000 screens. Though it's based on a novel that's over two decades old, it can't help but feel a little familiar after similar ground was recently covered in ATOMIC BLONDE, RED SPARROW, and Luc Besson's ANNA, not to mention Besson's 1990 classic LA FEMME NIKITA, the template for this sort of thing.