Banal, boring black ops


A kick-ass, highly trained, ultra-covert lady assassin-for-hire finds herself squaring off against the biggest threat of her killing career, the only foe that could match her lethal skills. If you can’t guess what that is, you don’t go to enough crappy movies. 

Being a film critic has its upsides. In addition to the usual big-deal releases, I regularly screen excellent docs, art films and music flicks that I might otherwise not find time for. But one aspect of the biz has recently emerged that’s becoming downright depressing – talented actors punching way below their weight in banal, derivative flicks. A-listers in B-movies.

The lead here is one of my favorites, Jessica Chastain (though she puts in her usual committed, convincing performance). Can someone explain to me why this woman has never received an Oscar (though nominated twice), while Hillary friggin’ Swank has two? (Never mind; there’s no explanation.)

It gets worse. Joining Jessica for a variety of reasons one can only guess at are John Malkovich, Colin Farrell and Geena Davis (also Common and Joan Chen, but they’re hardly A-listers). Maybe they owe back taxes, or need to bribe a posh university, or have a coke habit, or just want a new boat. Or maybe, like Bruce Willis and Nicolas Cage, they just don’t care anymore. 

Mostly overqualified actors punching, kicking, stabbing or shooting each other. Rather insultingly sets up a sequel, which I’ll wager we never see. (96 min)

Japan release date April 16, 2021

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