I know, it sounds terrible, but Barely Lethal is actually barely passable comedy entertainment.
Hailee Steinfeld plays an orphan indoctrinated into a secret US government project to turn young girls into deadly assassins. The head of the project is of course none other than Samuel L Jackson
Following a mission against a dangerous criminal (played by Jessica Alba), Steinfeld’s character escapes to become a “normal” teenage girl and enrols in high school. And as you expected, awkward situations ensue before her past catches up with her and action scenes are added to the humour.
The film is as cliched as it sounds and isn’t original given we’ve already seen Hit Girl do the whole high school thing in Kick-Ass 2. Having said that, it knows it’s nothing special and embraces its mediocrity, resulting in carefree and relaxed peformances from the core cast.
There are some amusing pop culture references (given that the only high school world known to Steinfeld’s character are from movies and TV shows), a welcome big screen appearance by Game of Thrones‘ Sophie Turner (as a villain, no less), and a scene-stealing performance from Rob Huebel as the typical awkward father of Steinfeld’s love interest (played by Thomas Mann of Project X fame). And of course, there’s Sam Jackson doing what he does best.
A fairly forgettable, totally mediocre experience that’s not without some laughs.
2.75 stars out of 5