Undoubtedly, Thunder Force will be a finalist for a Golden Raspberry Award. If you are unfamiliar with the Razzies, the statuette goes to the worst film of the year. Never fear, actors do not escape the notoriety of the Razzies. Sylvester Stallone tops the charts with ten followed closely by Madonna with nine. Here, one should expect Melissa McCarthy to add to her total of nominations in three separate films, most recently a winner for Happytime Murders. Even in a bad movie, producers market it by putting their best material in the trailer. Thunder Force has no “best material,” only mediocre and worse. Sold as “Action, Adventure, Comedy,” it has none of those either.
Thunder Force does have a few things going for it. Viewers will find actors going through the motions, a nonsensical, sluggish plot, and poor stunt work. Even the Super-names are weak, i.e., Hammer and Bingo. Hammer complains that her suit stinks because they can’t wash them. Trust me, the stench from the film is far, far, more malodorous. Would Thunder Force even get made but for Netflix? Actually, would Ben Falcone get to direct, co-produce, write, and appear in the film if not married to Melissa McCarthy? This is just a sad, stupid 107 minutes of streaming. I give the movie 1.0 Gavel and it receives a 25% Rotten Tomatoes rating with a really poor 4.2/10 IMDb score.
In 1983, cosmic rays caused genetic transformations in sociopaths who obtain superpowers. Known as Miscreants, their crimes caused the death of the parents of young Emily Stanton. She vows to continue her parents’ work to develop superpowers for regular people to fight back against the Miscreants. Some thirty-plus years later, Emily’s estranged, high school, screw-up friend, Lydia Berman, appears at her company’s doorstep to take her to their high school reunion. By mistake, Lydia receives the treatment for super strength. Emily takes hers for invisibility. Thunder Force is now ready to take on The King, Laser, and The Crab.
So talented in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, why does Melissa McCarthy fall back into these really bad roles? Oh yes, her husband wrote the part of Lydia for her. Then, why would Octavia Spencer (The Witches) fall victim to this mess? Emily Stanton might well earn her a Razzie nomination, too. Awards are given for Best Ensemble Cast; this one might win the worst despite Jason Bateman, Bobby Cannavale, and Melissa Leo.
Car enthusiasts might like the purple Lamborghini In Thunder Force except our two superheroes are too “encumbered” to get in and out of it. When will Hollywood figure out that “diarrhea-causing treatments” and “privates bitten by radioactive crabs” are not remotely funny? The best line in the film has Lydia, as The Hammer, telling Laser that “you know killing is not a recognized hobby.” She responds “I can’t knit.”
“There might be no one better than McCarthy to poke a welcome hole in superhero self-seriousness. But Thunder Force wobbles between half-baked comic-strip sendup and half-hearted valentine.” Hollywood Reporter
“How can people who purport to love comedy so much turn out something so lackadaisical and joyless?” New York Magazine/Vulture
Overall, this is about what we’ve come to expect from a Melissa McCarthy film. She makes 10 bummers until she gets it right. Predictably, this one goes south quickly.