‘Thunder Force’: Superpowers turn two likable actors into an anemic duo

Melissa McCarthy (left) and Octavia Spencer play lifelong friends getting used to their new superpowers in “Thunder Force.” | NETFLIX

The transformed Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer are no match for lazy, gross-out jokes and mediocre action sequences.

It’s always a shame when a group of talented humans get together and deliver something that comes across as a halfhearted effort, even if they poured their blood, sweat and tears into it. Such is the case with the alleged action-comedy titled “Thunder Force,” and I’ll start with this:

During one of the many lulls in the plot, co-stars Octavia Spencer and Melissa McCarthy get into a discussion about Glenn Frey and in particular his song “Smuggler’s Blues,” eventually singing along with the tune. Later in the story, they hear “Kiss From a Rose” by Seal, and they sing along with THAT pop hit.

You know what’s kind of fun? Singing along to classic tunes. You know what’s almost never fun because it’s so overdone? People in a movie singing along to classic tunes.

(We also get a dopey fantasy dance sequence set to “You Belong to the City.” Writer-director Ben Falcone — McCarthy’s husband — must really be a fan of Glenn Frey songs that were used on the old “Miami Vice” TV show.)

The pop culture nods and the Chicago-centric references fly in “Thunder Force.” McCarthy does an Urkel impersonation and calls one overly serious female executive “Jodie Foster,” and there are numerous shoutouts to the Bulls and the Bears, and even “The Super Bowl Shuffle” and Jim McMahon’s sunglasses. (A cop also refers to a crime on “Grand Street” instead of “Grand Avenue,” sigh.) All well and good — but while “Thunder Force” is set in Chicago, it was filmed in Atlanta save for a few establishing shots, and it looks like a Chicago-set movie that was filmed in Atlanta.

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Geographical groans aside, it’s also a feeble superhero comedy with lazy, gross-out jokes, mediocre action sequences, some bad sitcom-level acting and the appearance of Jason Bateman as a criminal who has crab legs for arms, and you read that right: crab legs for arms. Imagine the hilarity, or lack thereof, when this guy goes out to dinner and the waiter suggests the seafood tower! SMH.

The world is overrun by mutated bad guys including The Crab (Jason Bateman, left, with crustacean arms) and The King (Bobby Cannavale).

“Thunder Force” kicks off with comic-book style graphics as we’re told, “In March of 1983, a massive pulse of interstellar cosmic rays struck the Earth [and] triggered a genetic transformation in a select few, unleashing unimaginable superpowers … unlocked in rare individuals who were genetically predisposed to be sociopaths.”

I hate when that happens.

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Source:: Chicago Sun Times

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