Monday 14 February 2022

REVIEW: The 355 Starring Jessica Chastain, Penélope Cruz, Fan Bingbing, Diane Kruger, and Lupita Nyong'o.

Review by Jon Donnis
I know what we need, an action spy film that has a piece of technology that can hack any computer in the world, and people chase after it!

Possibly the most overused plot line in spy films, but alas that is what we have here.

The 355 is directed by Simon Kinberg and stars Jessica Chastain, Penélope Cruz, Fan Bingbing, Diane Kruger, and Lupita Nyong'o. The women play various international spies who end up having to work together to stop the outbreak of WW3, after a special decryption program is created by a drug lord in Colombia. This device can hack any system on the planet.

The device is put up for sale, CIA tries to buy it, various bad guys try to buy it, it gets swapped out, stolen, and you pretty much can imagine the rest.

The plot line is as ridiculous and cliched as you can imagine. It seems like the film makers decided to hire a bunch of big-name actresses, throw them all in together, send them to lots of expensive looking locations (Paris, Morrocco, Shanghai etc) and hope magic comes from it.

If you saw Hitman's Wife Bodyguard, this is pretty much the same thing, but without the humour.

The plot is so full of holes, and despite them wanting to push this as a female led international type film, all I found myself doing was thinking how incompetent these so called world class spies are.

If it isn't them letting the bad guys go every single time, it is one wearing totally inappropriate clothes and shoes which makes for laughable chase scenes. Got a bad guy in front of you? Got a gun pointed at them? Pull the trigger and kill them, right? WRONG. Even at the totally predictable end, it wasn't really the female spies that "won".

If this film was a parody, think Johnny English, and it was about 4 or 5 international spies who lucked their way through things, it would probably be a really funny film.
Instead, it takes itself way too seriously, with an all too commonly used plotline.

The Good
The action scenes are good, the fight scenes and chase scenes are well done. And the big-name actresses all play their parts to the best of their ability.

The Bad
The film suffers due to a terrible story, awful writing, and backwards directing.
This is what happens when you cast a film first to tick a load of diversity boxes, and then try to fit a story to them.

This is the kind of film that you have on in the background, and you stop what you are doing when the action scenes are on, the rest of the time you will be on your phone, or chatting.

The 355 is no 007 - I score The 355 a poor 4/10

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