LOU (NETFLIX) (2022)
SYNOPSIS: A storm rages. A young girl is kidnapped. Her mother (Jurnee Smollett) teams up with the mysterious woman next door (Allison Janney) to pursue the kidnapper – a journey that tests their limits and exposes shocking secrets from their pasts.
Oscar winner Allison Janney (I, Tonya) is the latest veteran actor to pick up the action mantle after Liam Neeson and Bob Odenkirk did more than a respectable job disposing off onscreen villains and baddies in their sixties.
In this J.J. Abrams produced action thriller, Janney stars as Lou Adell, a loner who spend her days with her dog, Jax and hunting down deer for their meat. Shortly, she is shown in the prologue withdrawing all her money and about to embark on killing herself. That is until Lou’s renter, Hannah (Jurnee Smollett) barged into Lou’s cabin saying her daughter has been kidnapped by her supposedly dead ex-husband, Philip (Logan Marshall-Green).
Without much hesitation, Lou offers to track down ex-special force agent Philip and bring back her daughter, Vee (Ridley Asha Bateman) to Hannah. But Hannah insists to tag along despite the torrential weather and a potential deadly confrontation.
As expected, Lou is no ordinary senior citizen living in a small secluded seaside town. She is or at least a CIA spy armed with a special set of skills once. As a trashy actioner, Lou succeeds with one solid scene with Janney’s character dispatching off two of Philip’s henchmen in a cabin with a can food lid. The action is sharply choreographed and carefully edited to make sure there’s little loopholes and Janney’s face remains in-camera for most of the time anyway.
After a hair-raising walk across a crumbling rope bridge comes the big reveal or twist in the second half which basically bogged down the entire affair. Lou fails to generate much excitement and memorable moments although the script by Maggie Cohn and Jack Stanley attempts to add some character and redemption factors into it.
Alas, the entire result is comically bad as much of the story culminates in a broken lighthouse and stormy sea waves. Even a talky scene set in a cave prior doesn’t create much surprises. The whole storyline about a US secret mission that went awry in Iran is more of an odd choice than a worthy plot point. And we all should feel bad for Logan Marshall-Green for playing a third-rate, two dimensional abusive and psychotic spouse.
Still, Allison Janney is a solid action heroine and Lou proves the lady can play anything from a single mother to a kick-ass CIA agent. It will be much easier to watch a simple actioner where Lou gets to outwit and outplay her opponents in a muddy, wet terrain than one that has a clumsy subplot that derails a near perfect setup and a compelling cabin fight.
Review by Linus Tee