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review by Bobby Blakey

John Cena has been on a role with the action and comedy films including turns in the Fast and Furious franchise, headlining the series Peacemaker, the Netflix hit Hidden Strike alongside Jackie Chan, the sequel film Vacation Friends 2 on Hulu and Argyle in theaters now. In 2023 he teamed up with Taken and Peppermint director Pierre Morel for his latest film Freelance co-starring Alison Brie, Juan Pablo Raba, and Christian Slater. The film quietly hit theaters and then just kind of disappeared, but could it have something more to offer or is it a freelance job not worth taking?

Freelance follows an ex special-forces operative stuck in a dead-end desk job reluctantly takes on a gig to provide private security for a washed-up journalist as she interviews a ruthless—but impeccably dressed—dictator. When a military coup breaks out just as she's about to get the scoop of a lifetime, the unlikely trio must figure out how to survive the jungle, the assassins, and each other in order to make it out alive.

Being a fan of this cast I was interested in seeing this flick, but the trailers never really stood out. Like most, I missed it in theaters and then kind of forgot about it. Now it made its way onto Hulu so finally got the chance to check it out and enjoyed it for what it is. I say that, because it is a pretty by the numbers action comedy that we have seen so many times with plenty of others done a lot better, but still manages to entertain with what they put together. 

It's interesting that it is billed as a action comedy as it isn’t all that funny, but

does have a few humorous moments. That’s not to say that there are a lot of jokes that missed their mark, but it’s just not offering them. It plays out as more of a straight action film in the vein of things like Romancing the Stone, The Paper Tigers and The Nice Guys. All of these are way better films, but the tone is similar and manages to work for the most part. There are elements of the film that limps along walking such a generic line it’s hard to get fully invested. 

At the same time Cena is all in and looks to be having a good time as does Brie. They have great chaotic chemistry that unfolds much like you might think with some twists that hope to be something new but still plays it safe. Juan Pablo Raba is no doubt the coolest guy on screen with a swagger like no other and keeps you wondering if he is the bad guy you think or something more. The trio are together most of the film and bounce of each other perfectly even if all the moments don’t work.

There is plenty of action and fun making it a by the numbers action comedy that works way better than I think it got credit for, but not something that will likely be making any waves. Decide for yourself and check out Freelance available now on Blu-ray and DVD. 

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