In spirit, we need more female-led action films, but "The 355" is not worthy of the all-star cast of women it has assembled.
Another victim of the pandemic, "The 355" was actually purchased by Universal Pictures back at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, and was set to hit theaters in January of 2021. Delayed a full year due to COVID-19, "The 355" finds itself hitting theaters again at a time when the virus is infecting people at record levels.
Of course, the pandemic wasn't enough to keep people away from "Spider-Man: No Way Home," which has been shattering all-time box office records despite its mid-pandemic release date. But "The 355" has a steep road ahead of it, as it is not an existing intellectual property, and its stars - while definitely some of the best actresses in Hollywood - have not proven on their own to be sure-fire box office draws.
Worst of all, it's a middling, generic spy thriller that will also hit the Peacock streaming network 45 days after its theatrical release, meaning that "The 355" is more likely the number of people that may actually see it in theaters, and not the number of millions it stands to make in the weeks ahead.
Named after an actual female spy during the American Revolution, Agent 355, the film "The 355" has nothing to do with this person's story, and is rather inspired by it, as it deals with a number of female spies from across the globe. The plot centers around a MacGuffin, in the form of a hard drive that has capabilities to down planes, and create chaos all over the world with the click of a button. CIA agent Mace Browne (Jessica Chastain) and her partner Nick (Sebastian Stan) are tasked with locating and securing it, but their mission goes sideways when top spies from other countries get involved.
There's Marie (Diane Kruger) a German intelligence agent, Graciela (Penélope Cruz) a Columbian psychologist and Khadijah (Lupita Nyong'o) an MI6 agent from the UK. Later, a Chiness MSS agent, Lin Mi (Fan Bingbing) gets involved. Most of the film involves them clashing into one another, plotting to find the MacGuffin, or chasing after it. None of the action is particularly inspired, and each of the characters are thinly drawn. A so-called "twist" that comes later in the film could have been spotted a mile away...remember if you don't see a character actually die on screen there's a good chance that character isn't dead at all.
"The 355" is generic and pedestrian, standing apart only due to the fact that there are females in the lead roles. But frankly, they are underserved by the material and deserved more. Here's for more female-led action movies, just ones that are better...and given a fighting chance to be seen at the box office.
Genre: Action, Thriller.
Run Time: 2 hours 4 minutes.
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Diane Kruger, Lupita Nyong'o, Penélope Cruz, Sebastian Stan, Edgar Ramirez, Bingbing Fan.
Co-Written and Directed by Simon Kinberg ("Dark Phoenix")
"The 355" is in theaters on Friday, January 7th, 2022 and streaming on Peacock 45 days after.
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