Thursday 13 October 2022

REVIEW: Code Name Banshee (2022) - Starring Antonio Banderas, Jaime King and Tommy Flanagan

Review by Jon Donnis
Assassins, revenge, and everything going wrong, this sounds like my kind of film.

Jaime King plays Banshee, we first meet the character during a CIA interrogation. We learn that her father and a man called Caleb (Antonio Banderas) have both been designated as traitors after a mission went wrong. Banshee's father is presumed dead in an asset transfer, but no body was ever discovered. Caleb disappeared during the ambush. The CIA have put a bounty of $10m on the head of Caleb. Banshee is sceptical of the official government account of what happened.

Fast forward a few years and Banshee has become a contract killer. Along with hacker Kronos (Played by Aleksander Vayshelboym), she takes out whoever she is paid to. One day while pursuing a target who is a congressman, she is attacked by Anthony Greene (Tommy Flanagan) who is lying in wait for her. He is after Caleb, and believes that Banshee was trained by Caleb and as such will know of his whereabouts. Banshee escapes, but she realises she needs to find Caleb, warn him about the bounty and find out what really happened to her father.

Of course, Banshee finds Caleb in New Jersey with his daughter Hailey (Catherine Davis), and warns him that there is a huge bounty of his head, they will now work together to find out the truth and try to stop the bad guys.

The film is your pretty standard action thriller. Although the film clearly has a relatively low budget, a really strong cast lifts the film to a position higher than it would otherwise.

Jaime King pulls off the tough as nails female lead, very believable, and likeable. Antonio Banderas is great in everything he does, and Tommy Flanagan is your perfect bad guy that you love to hate. A special mention goes out to Catherine Davis who plays Calab's daughter Hailey, in the final scenes she gets to shine, and just like Banshee she gets to kick ass too. 

Once again, a film can show female leads being tough and believable, without the viewer ever feeling like they are being pandered to. It seems that independent movies seem to do this best, whereas Hollywood films fail 90% of the time.

The Good
A very strong cast helps carry the film beyond its budgetary limits. The film makes clever use of camera angles, and sound effects to enhance scenes that they are unable to spend a couple of million on visual effects to produce.

The Bad
There are a few moments where they seem to have forgot to add the visual effects, for example a grenade/flash bang is thrown in a house near the end of the film, you hear the bang, you see the bad guys all jump in the air, but there is no explosion, no flash, so it just comes across as weird. A few moments like that should have been picked up in the editing room. There is also a couple of time line issues. 

Strong female lead, great bad guy, and a satisfying ending, what more could you want.

I score Code Name Banshee a strong 8/10

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