Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Call Her King (2023)

Streaming Service: BET+
Movie Name/Year: Call Her King (2023)
Genre: Action, Thriller
Length:  1h 39min
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: Blacklight Entertainment, BET+
Director: Wes Miller
Writers: Wes Miller
Actors: Naturi Naughton, Jason Mitchell, Lance Gross, Nicholas Turturro, Johnny Messner, Tobias Truvillion, Han Soto, Barry Ratcliffe
IMDb Blurb: After the courthouse is hijacked by Black Caesar, brother of Sean Samuels, who has just been sentenced, Judge Jaeda King must rely on her strength and skills to find a way to end the standoff, save the hostages, and make her escape.
Selina’s Point of View:
When watching Call Her King, I think it’s important to consider the budget. It can’t really be compared to mainstream theater fare. It’s a lot more along the lines of a TV movie.
The start of the film was a little rough. The casual conversation between husband and wife and between the main character and her colleagues all felt a little forced. On top of that, Naturi Naughton didn’t sell me on the interactions any more than the script did. As a result, I settled in for what I thought would be a long hour and a half.
Once the movie picked up, however, my perception of it changed. As it turns out, Naughton is much better with the high-action scenes. It may just be that she’s better at the action stuff than anything else, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Nicholas Turturro also had me laughing a lot of the time. He provided some much-needed comedic relief.
I say “much-needed” because the subject is heavy. As much as the plot lent itself to a decent action premise, it was also a very important subject. The corruption of our justice system is a huge problem. I love it when flicks take that issue and wrap it in something watchable because it forces people to acknowledge it. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t seem to care about it until it affects them directly. Sometimes movies, books, and TV shows can help with that.
The low budget did lead to some issues with things like gunshot CGI. However, I think they got innovative with some of the other stuff. At one point a person is shot and the gore winds up on a window. Because the creative team for Call Her King was forced to improvise, whatever they did caused it to look terrifyingly real for a minute. As the movie went on, it became easier to ignore any other CGI issues.
The script was my least favorite part of the flick. The dialogue specifically. A lot of it just didn’t feel natural. The cooler parts that you see in the trailer feel like they were added specifically for use in the trailer. I think it would have benefited the film to just leave them out entirely.
Call Her King had a lot of ups and downs. That said, it was worthy of a watch.

Cat’s Point of View:
Call Her King initially was a little intriguing to me. The trailer seemed to promise a decent amateur action movie. While I wouldn’t say that was inaccurate, it wasn’t exactly what I hoped it would be. 

I admire the message that was explored within the dramatic moments of Call Her King, but I just had a hard time buying most of everything else. I was cringing more often than I wasn’t. There were plot points that just didn’t feel supported.

Then there was the shaky-cam. Sure, it wasn’t as bad as some found-footage movies, but even straight non-action shots had a lot of bobble to them. I just had a recent health circumstance that involved some mild vertigo. The screen-jitters didn’t do me any favors. 

It’s entirely possible that I’m just slightly cranky from being exhausted at the moment, but Call Her King did very little for me as an action fan. I spent far too much time pondering the fact the bailiff looked like he could be Geraldo Rivera’s (A Miracle in Spanish Harlem, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Sharknado 5: Global Swarming) brother. (He isn’t.)

The fight choreography was basic and OK, the blood effects were iffy, and there were some sound quality issues where it was clear there was a voiceover happening rather than something that happened live in the shot I was watching. 

Normally I find it easier to look over these earmarks of a smaller-budget movie and give them the benefit of the doubt like The Little Engine that Could. Alas, today, those small details pulled me out of the story and had me slightly bored with the overall experience. 

If you’re catching Call Her King in rotation on the BET network, and this is your type of movie - I certainly wouldn’t call for changing the channel. However, if you’re looking for a quality action movie (even one with social justice themes), this may not be the one you’d want to settle on.

Call Her King releases for streaming on BET+ Thursday, July 6, 2023.
Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score –None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – None
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating – 3/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 2.5/5

Trust the Dice: Parental Advisory Rating -  PG-13
Movie Trailer:

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