Wednesday, May 24, 2023

'The Wrath Of Becky' (2023) Movie Review

lulu wilson covered in blood
You ever have a friend that trouble just seems to find no matter what? They’ll be walking down the street or riding the bus, minding their own business, and someone always talks shit or tries to start a fight for no discernable reason? That seems to be Becky (Lulu Wilson) and fascists. After dismantling a gang of white supremacists led by Kevin James in 2020’s Becky, the precocious murder-teen is back, slightly older and a bit more grizzled, to fuck up more fascist assholes in The Wrath of Becky. And she is indeed wrathful.


Also, don’t ever fuck with dogs. One, because dogs are better than you. Two, because you never know who their owner is and if they will come at you with furious anger and absolutely eviscerate you. That’s a key part of The Wrath of Becky, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.


[Related Reading: 'Becky' Movie Review]

lulu wilson in a gasmask

The sequel, masterminded by writer/directors Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote this time, picks up a few years after the first film. We find Becky generally living off the grid and pouring all her trauma survival instincts into survival training, planting traps, mastering weapons, and all that jazz. When chance throws her into conflict with a group of “Noble Men,” totally not based on any real-world group of polo shirt wearing fascist fuckheads, led by Darryl (Sean William Scott), things turn toward violence. Brutal, bloody, giddy violence. As mentioned, they mess with her beloved dog Diego, which doesn’t end well for t hem. 


The Wrath of Becky is nothing if not a delivery system for carnage. The script essentially just lights the fuse and lets us stand back to watch the fireworks. The gooey, splattery fireworks. While it’s really, really entertaining to watch a teenage girl dismantle and otherwise annihilate bunch of racist, misogynist assholes, there are definite limits that hamstring the movie and hold it back from being a totally gonzo masterpiece.


[Related Reading: 'Sisu' Movie Review]

sean william scott with a gun

Wilson is good, and has been fantastic in most of what she’s appeared in, but she doesn’t have much to do here besides wreak havoc. She gleefully digs into the wholesale slaughter, but there’s little more to the character this time beyond that. Early on, the film touches on her lingering mental wounds, but it never goes deeper than to suggest this violence is a response to her trauma. (Perhaps more accurately, a result of her non-response to her trauma.)


For his part, Scott makes a better villain than James in the first film. One of the pitfalls of Becky is that James never fully sells the force and terror of his vicious white supremacist character. There are glimpses, but he never quite gets there. Darryl, on the other hand, has the charm and charisma of someone who can recruit and radicalize a bunch of incels on the internet, but who can also flip a switch and exude a quiet, chilling menace.


[Related Reading: 'Annabelle: Creation' Movie Review]

lulu wilson running

As raucous as parts of The Wrath of Becky are, it falls short in a number of key ways. We see indications of how awesome it could be, that there is potential for jubilant over-the-top bloodshed, but it never truly materializes. The Noble Men have a plan to attack a rally for an obvious AOC stand-in, and we spend much of the movie anticipating that mayhem, only it never happens. And though Becky utterly decimates her enemies but good, there are only actually like five. (Shoutout, however, to Courtney Gains as Twig, who plays just the best movie shitbags. You know it’s going to rule if he shows up.)


It's hard to complain too much about things like this because they’re obviously the result of limited resources. Staging a big assault on a large political rally is a significant undertaking. And sure, there are only a handful of baddies to destroy, but the film does go all out, so what we do get is a damn gory time with the reduced body count. Still, while they do a lot with what they have, the constraints are readily apparent. 


[Related Reading: 'Overlord' Movie Review]

lulu wilson looking badass

What’s fun about The Wrath of Becky is an absolute blast. You can’t hate a movie where a teenage girl obliterates fascists with glorious abandon. It’s quick, to the point, and, at 83 minutes, doesn’t linger too long. While it offers an injection of joyous, gore-soaked evisceration, there’s little more to it than that. It’s entertaining enough on those merits, but it falls far short of the obvious manic potential for greatness and it’s impossible to miss what it could have been. [Grade: B-]

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