Why have just one Noomi Rapace, when you can have seven?
That seems to be the idea behind the gonzo sci-fi action movie “What Happened to Monday”, which premieres Friday on Netflix. It takes a silly premise to ridiculous lengths, but it is undeniably entertaining. And if you like Rapace, you literally cannot get enough of her in this movie.
The movie takes place in a future where the Earth is severely overpopulated, leading to famine and civil unrest. A leading government scientist (Glenn Close) proposes a “one-family, one-child” policy, with a severe twist. Any children beyond that government-sanctioned only child are put into cryogenic suspended animation, taking a deep sleep until the world finds a permanent solution to its population problems. (“Awake to a better world” is the slogan for the icky ads that the government uses to sell the policy to the public.)
So if having two kids is a crime, having seven is a real problem. Rapace plays all seven identical twin sisters, each named after a different day of the week, who were hidden away by their grandfather (Willem Dafoe) after their mother died in a childbirth. Now adults, all seven share a single identity – Karen Settman. Each sister is allowed to leave their apartment one day a week to live Karen’s life. The other six days, they stay home.
Rapace clearly has a blast playing each of the seven sisters – one is a computer nerd, another a fitness buff, a third a goody-two-shoes executive type. (Sure, Tatiana Maslany was much more believable playing the different clones on BBC’s “Orphan Black,” but Rapace is good enough).
One day, “Monday” doesn’t come home. The other six sisters, in panic, begin to investigate what happened to her, fearing that if “Karen Settman” is found dead, that will negate their identities as well.
From there, quickly shifts into action-movie mode, with the various Rapaces being chased by wave after wave of black-clad government goons. It’s a lot of fun to see fight scenes where three different Noom Rapaces are kicking butt together. Director Tommy Wirkola, who made the immortal “Hansen and Gretel: Witch Hunters,” seems much more at ease with the running-and-shooting parts of the movie than the thinking-and-talking parts.
Surprisingly gory and relentlessly paced, “Monday” is like the best Luc Besson movie that Luc Besson never made.
Also on streaming: Think of Acorn’s “Good Karma Hospital” as a mix of “Call the Midwife” and “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” a warm and generous show that’s a little medical drama, a little fish-out-of-water comedy.
A burned-out London doctor, Ruby Walker, (Amrita Acharia) agrees to relocate to India to join a prestigious private clinic. But before she can join the clinic, she has to spend a year at a rundown private hospital in a seaside town, run by the flinty Dr. Fonseca (Amanda Redman). Since the hospital lacks adequate resources, the doctors there have to use their wits and experience to diagnose and treat their patients. The back-and-forth between the shell-shocked Dr. Walker and the seen-it-all Fonseca is a lot of fun, and gives both actresses a chance to really shine. Plus, the setting is fantastic.
Netflix has launched four Marvel series – “Jessica Jones,” “Daredevil,” “Iron Fist” and “Luke Cage” – and now brings them all together “Avengers”-style with “The Defenders,” premiering Friday. Think of it as a grittier but also funnier version of the big Marvel team-ups, as all four heroes join forces reluctantly. It’ll tide me over until the next season of the terrific “Jones” this fall.