The Netflix original film Message from the King is a solid, no-nonsense B-movie programmer that delivers the expected beat-downs with tough-guy aplomb. No cliché is left untouched in the generic but serviceable revenge-motivated screenplay by Stephen Cornwell and Oliver Butcher, but the movie is amped up by French helmer Fabrice Du Welz’s stylish handling of the action sequences, and the way he interestingly downplays the more obvious Los Angeles locations that his film is set in and around. Chadwick Boseman is commanding from frame one as the hero looking to settle a violent score when he finds out some distressing information about his sister’s whereabouts and her linkage to a group of mobsters, and while the film breaks absolutely no new ground in any fashion, it’s well-done, it’s engaging, and the movie does exactly what it sets out to do: Kick lots of ass, take very few names, and be in and out with efficiency. Monica Lenczewska’s cinematography kicks up the visual package a few notches; the strong supporting cast (Alfred Molina, Luke Evans, Teresa Palmer, Dale Dickey) also helps solidify the entire piece. Message from the King premiered at last year’s Toronto Film Festival, and is now available as a streaming option on Netflix.
Review by Nick Clement