Movie Review: ‘The 355’ – Lewiston Sun Journal
For some reason, “The 355” really wanted to be the first movie of the year – any year. It was originally supposed to open in January 2021, but I guess the studio decided that since theaters in major markets weren’t open yet, it would have to be pushed back to January 2022. Things might have worked out better in 2021.
Yes, it should have faced obvious hurdles with a limited number of theaters, but competition at that time was rare. It wouldn’t have been crushed by ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ and ‘Sing 2’ like it did last weekend when it opened to less than $5 million at the domestic box office. . Again, that might not have made a difference. The public recognizes a bomb when they see one, no matter when it opens.
The film features an impressive cast: Academy Award-winning Penelope Cruz, Academy Award-winning Lupita Nyong’o, multiple Academy Award-nominated Jessica Chastain, SAG Award-winning Diane Kruger, and Chinese superstar Bingbing Fan.
A movie like this should want you to come for who these actresses are and stay for what they do. Unfortunately, this movie just makes you come for who the actresses are and that’s it, there’s nothing interesting about what they do.
The actresses play spies (actually Cruz plays a psychologist who works for a spy agency but isn’t a spy herself, as her wet blanket persona constantly reminds us) who all try to prevent a key evil USB from falling into the wrong hands.
“Wrong hands” means the bad guys, obviously, but it also means each other’s agencies, which means they’re at odds with each other. Eventually, they learn to work together and rightly decide that their own corrupt agencies shouldn’t have it either. Their mission takes them all over the world as they follow the MacGuffin from one annoying baldhead to another.
We expect it to end up in the hands of a noteworthy actor. It starts with a corrupt DNI agent (Edgar Ramirez), but it says “quickly killed” all over him. We also know arms dealer Clarke (Jason Flemyng) is in the mix, but he’s too boring (even for this movie) to really be on top. Could this be Chastain’s partner (Sebastian Stan), who was presumably killed in the first act, but whose death we haven’t seen, so he’s surely still somewhere?
The characters and the story are certainly not enough to carry this film, how is the action going? Hectic and disappointing. Actresses usually wear wigs for their assignments, which is just a thinly veiled excuse to hide stunt doubles under those wigs. But the stunt doubles aren’t particularly well-directed, so there’s no point.
The fight scenes don’t offer anything unique and there are so many shootouts that you’ll be bored shooting by the end of this film. A movie with such a high body count since filming really doesn’t qualify for a PG-13 rating, but it’s intentionally just bloodless enough to qualify.
Although the movie’s commercial explained why the movie is called “The 355”, we don’t get the scene where it’s explained until the very end (which is another dead giveaway that Stan’s character is still alive).
This means that the group plans to continue working together, and so a sequel is implied. I challenge someone to give us a sequel after how bad this movie is and how badly it did. At least whoever is put in charge won’t have to worry about high expectations.
“The 355” is rated PG-13 for sequences of strong violence, brief and strong language and suggestive material. Its operating time is 124 minutes.
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