Here’s an unpopular opinion: Blake Lively was better in “The Shallows” than Leonardo DiCaprio was in “The Revenant.” Yes, “The Shallows” — the movie with the shark. It wouldn’t seem to have much in common with a 2 ½ hour long take parade that netted DiCaprio his long-deserved Oscar (which is to say he deserved it for “The Wolf of Wall Street”). But they both largely revolved around one actor fighting the elements. And honestly, Lively pulled it off better, and without all that pesky self-importance. Turns out she’s a thriller god! And now she’s getting her very own action movie: the curiously titled “The Rhythm Section.”
The film will be based on a series of British novels by Mark Burnell revolving around one Stephanie Patrick, a woman whose family was killed in an airplane crash. When she learns it was no freak accident, she repurposes herself into an assassin, hell-bent on taking out everyone responsible. The film will be directed by a woman, too: Reed Morano, who just nabbed an Emmy nomination for helming the first three episodes of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
“The Rhythm Section” will join a long and welcome line of female-led ass-kickers. “Wonder Woman” is still going strong, and “Atomic Blonde,” with Charlize Theron — who already brought the pain in “Mad Max: Fury Road” — beating people with heels and ropes and fridges, is en route by month’s end. Meanwhile, on the deep horizon, there’s Brie Larson in the forthcoming “Captain Marvel,” plus Anya Taylor-Joy and Maisie Williams in the “X-Men” spinoff “New Mutants,” which its producers swear is going to be more horror than the standard comic book stylings of the regular “X-Men” episodes.
Meanwhile, there are precious few new male ass-whoopers worth getting excited about these days. Wasn’t Jason Statham declared the “last action hero” back in 2001? Few have taken his place since. There’s a new class of action star, and they don’t have a Y chromosome. The future is indeed female.