Friday, January 7, 2022

The 355 - Movie Review

The Movie: The 355

The Director: Simon Kinberg

The Cast: Jessica Chastain, Penélope Cruz, Fan Bingbing, Diane Kruger, Lupita Nyong’o, Édgar Ramirez, Sebastian Stan

The Story: When a top-secret weapon falls into mercenary hands, a wild card CIA agent joins forces with three international agents on a lethal mission to retrieve it, while staying a step ahead of a mysterious woman who's tracking their every move.

The Review:
Simon Kinberg is probably most well known for his efforts writing and producing films in he X-Men franchise starting with First Class and then all the way up to taking the director's chair for Dark Phoenix which was his first feature directorial effort. Unfortunately, that movie was not well received especially by this very website so I was a bit concerned with this movie being Kinberg's second attempt at putting together a big action style feature film. I feel like, for the most part, this movie should be considered a success as it does just about everything right with no glaring deficiencies.

The cast for this movie is super legit with Jessica Chastain, one of my favorite actors, leading the way alongside Penélope Cruz and Sebastian Stan. Lupita Nyong'o and Diane Kruger are also standouts and I wish Fan Bingbing had been given more to do, both acting and action, because she is pretty fantastic in everything she's a part of. The thing I like about the performances is how the cast seems invested in their characters and the work they are doing which is nice because sometimes actors mail their performances if they're not fully invested in the role (Red Notice). 

Oh, and if you're aware, I wasn't, the 355 is a designation given to a female colonial spy during the American Revolution and her real identity was unknown which is very appropriate for a movie filled with undercover female spies. From the beginning, the movie feels like an origin story of sorts although there is a clear ending by the time the credits role even if it does leave a possibility open for more in the future if the suit wearing people at Universal Pictures feel more movies would make more money.

The action scenes are solid although they do feel a bit stiff at times and maybe a little more training could have been done to clean things up a bit. This is really where Nyong'o and Fan stand out which could be due to their previous experience handling big action and fight sequences in other films. I also had the thought that maybe the filmmakers were holding things back a bit so they could expand things during potential sequels as well so maybe that's a thing.

The Verdict:
The 355 adds up to an action packed movie that plays the numbers game by stacking the deck with some of Hollywood's most powerful leading ladies. As far as spy movies go, Simon Kinberg creates a solid entry point for a potentially potent franchise and I would really like to see what this fab five of femme fatales could have in store for us down the road.

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