Lou’s review – is Allison Janney’s Netflix movie worth watching?

It’s easy to forget, considering how many clones and sub-par sequels followed, that Taken is an effective action film. It knows exactly what it is, conveys what the audience wants and has no pretensions beyond its winning, throwback concept: veteran character actors use animal mode on bad guys who are younger and should be fitter.

Of course, the weakness of such a strong hook – and Takenbox-office success – is that many will try and emulate it. The newest in a long line of imitators is Lou on Netflix, which does the fullest Taken by throwing Allison Janney against the type as a grizzled ex-CIA spy.

Sounds fun, right? It really must be with Janney’s talent and Bird of prey‘s Jurnee Smollett, who takes on the co-lead role here. The problem is not like that Taken, Lou either know what it is and are ashamed of it, or think it goes much deeper than it really is.

allison janney, jurnee smollett, lou

Netflix

The ingredients are there to show us what Lou it might be, and there’s nothing in the opening act that makes you think it’s going to be anything other than a fun action ride.

On a desert island during the worst storm of all time, Hannah’s (Smollett) daughter Vee (Ridley Asha Bateman) is kidnapped by her unkind military father, Philip (Logan Marshall-Green), who is presumed dead. Hannah turns to her hot-tempered landlady, Lou (Janney), interrupting Lou’s suicide attempt in the process, and they head for the storm using Lou’s special set of skills to track down Philip and save Vee.

There are entertaining action movie cliches scattered throughout this first act, alongside some inventive ideas. Philip is a former Green Beret who is naturally a “highly trained, explosives expert”, which he shows off by turning Vee’s music box into a bomb. Oh, and he’s also helped by two former teammates who are clearly “as ruthless as he is”.

This first big fight scene between Lou and Philip’s comrades is also promising. It’s a bloody and bruised encounter involving all manner of household items, ending with Lou’s innovative use of cans to slice and dismember his minions. This will definitely make you extra careful when opening a can of beans.

allison janney, lou

Netflix

However, it’s as good as you get Lou. Most of the middle act follows Lou and Hannah trudging through the forest, leading to a long, boring fight with Philip.

There wasn’t much action to be had and Janney made more scathing comments than his punches. Occasional insults ensue thanks to Janney’s dry delivery – when Hannah says she would never think of Lou as a spy, she retorts, “Be a damn spy if you do” – but you won’t hit the play on button. Lou hope comedy.

The second half reveal changes the dynamic, but doesn’t make Lou more interesting. The characters aren’t perfect enough to make the finale connect on the desired emotional level, increasing the feeling that the filmmakers wanted to make something deeper and forgot what film they were making.

Lou is one of two action deals on Netflix today (September 23) together Athensand you really should choose to watch that one.

Lou available to watch now on Netflix.

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