5 Great Frank Grillo Roles Before He Started Starring in Everything

Andrew Buckle,

Frank Grillo might be the hardest worker in the film business right now. The global pandemic may have slowed productions, but Grillo has been filling up his resume with portrayals of tough, gritty, hardened individuals headlining explosive action films, apocalyptic sci-fi thrillers and intense dramas.

Frank Grillo in Boss Level

In the last few months alone the Grillo-starring Boss Level, Body Brokers and Cosmic Sin have all been released for rental in the Movie Store. Over the next 12 months Grillo has multiple other films slated for theatrical and home entertainment release, including The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, the sequel to the 2017 hit action-comedy, Cop Shop, another collaboration with director Joe Carnahan (Boss Level), and A Day to Die.

Whether he’s a villain in a Marvel movie (a couple of the best, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War), a small-town community police chief full of supernatural residents (TV’s The Gates), a PreCrime cop (Minority Report), or the leader of a civilian defense against an alien invasion (Beyond Skyline), Grillo brings a committed intensity to his performances. Taking stock of the ton of mileage on his career to date, it’s no surprise he has become one of the most in-demand leading men.

Here are 5 great Frank Grillo roles that we urge you to check out if you’ve become a fan of his work.

The Grey (2012) – Buy or rent in the Fetch Movie Store

The Grey is a terrifying survival thriller that works as a psychological drama and is a really underappreciated film. The arc for Grillo’s character Diaz is actually a stand-out in a movie full of profound existential enlightenment from across the characters, as they each deal with their dreadful situation – surviving the Alaskan wilderness after a plane crash – in their own way. Diaz is a hothead and a dissenter against the natural leadership of Ottway (Liam Neeson), who is trying to keep the men united and best equipped to survive not only the extreme elements but a pack of wolves trying to pick them off one by one. Grillo carrying Diaz through his evolution stands pretty comfortably as his most affecting work to date.

Warrior (2011) – Buy or rent in the Fetch Movie Store

Starring alongside predominantly Joel Edgerton in Gavin O’Connor’s surprisingly excellent MMA drama (which also stars Tom Hardy), Grillo stars as Frank Campara. As an old friend of Edgerton’s Brendon, Frank is enlisted as his trainer and fight promoter as he mounts a comeback and prepares for a winner-takes-all tournament. Nick Nolte was nominated for an Oscar for his role as Hardy and Edgerton’s regretful alcoholic father, but the entire cast is ace.

Wheelman (2017) – Stream on Netflix. Subscription required.

In Wheelman Grillo stars as an unnamed badass getaway driver who is double-crossed during a bank robbery gone wrong. As his family is threatened, he must hunt down those that have betrayed him. The always-great Garrett Dillahunt and Shea Wigham co-star in this taut, white-knuckle thriller (it’s just 82-minutes of Adrenalin), which can be favourably compared to pulpy B-movie classics such as Drive.

Kingdom (2014-2017) – Stream S1-3 on tenplay and 7plus

Grillo returns to the MMA business in the hard-hitting drama Kingdom, where his character Alvey owns and runs Navy St. Gym in Venice Beach. The gym serves as the centre of the show’s drama, where Alvey trains fighters, including his sons (played by Nick Jonas and Jonathan Tucker), and navigates various personal and professional pressures both inside the ring and out.

The Purge: Election Year (2016) – Buy or rent in the Fetch Movie Store

The third film in the Purge trilogy – and arguably the strongest – is set on the eve of Presidential election, with candidate Senator Charlene Roan (Elizabeth Mitchell) promising to put an end to the annual Purge activities if elected. Grillo, reprising his character from The Purge: Anarchy stars as her head of security, Leo Barnes. Who else would you want in your corner? Barnes is called into action when the immunity for Government officials is revoked by an opposition party in an attempt to gain public favour and Roan becomes a target.

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