MR-9: Do or Die (2023) Review



MR-9: Do or Die is a fun time which doesn’t quite have the budget to match its ambition but the cast is solid and there is enough action to keep any genre fan satisfied. It’s easily director Asif Akbar’s best movie to date and I would love a sequel (which I’m pretty sure is guaranteed) with a higher budget.

Plot: An elite Bangladeshi spy teams up with a CIA operative to bring down an international criminal organization headed by a ruthless businessman.

Review: Directed by Asif Akbar, MR-9: Do or Die is based on the spy thriller novels by the late Bangladeshi writer Qazi Anwar Husain, who wrote 550 novels in the series, so we shouldn’t be surprised that this movie sets up a sequel (or 10).

The movie has a great cast including Frank Grillo on villain duties, Michael Jai White and ABM Sumon as our lead, Masud Rana. The film is a mixture of Bangladeshi stylings mixed with American and it mostly works. It’s over the top in the best ways with everyone looking cool and you could have a drinking game where you take a shot any time someone removes their shades.

It’s inspired by James Bond and that much is clear especially during a scene which has our hero talking with his own version of Q as he is provided with various weapons and gadgets for his mission.

There is the odd clunky line delivery and some of the script isn’t the greatest but I found that was part of the movie’s charm.

At 2 hours long it’s packed with action including regular fight scenes, shoot-outs and a few (CG) explosions; MR-9 may not have the budget it deserves but the ambition is there and it’s an easy movie so watch; hopefully the planned sequels have bigger budgets so they can deliver truly spectacular action that I feel this franchise deserves.

It’s generally well-paced and rarely drags although I did feel like it had a few too many endings as it was so busy setting up a sequel that it doesn’t feel like it gets a proper finale.

The choreography in the fight scenes was impressive, and you could really see the work that went into making each one look realistic. Frank Grillo did a great job as the villain where he had just the right amount of swagger and menace to make you root for his downfall. Michael Jai White, as always, was a total badass however, I will say that their climactic fight scene was a little too short for my liking.

Overall, MR-9: Do or Die is a solid action picture that delivers plenty of excitement and laughs. While it may not be perfect, it’s still worth a watch if you’re a fan of the genre. As for director Asif Akbar, I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for what he does next.