The distaff spy thriller “The 355” desperately wants the audience to embrace its explosive and exploitative body like a long lost love. The truth reveals yet another action abombination that should’ve been a one-day programmer on Netflix.
That’s right, “Red Notice” runs circles around this genre exercise helmed by Simon Kimberg, better known for his producing credits than his directial stamp.
Perhaps the most obvious and yet at the same time bygone referential note that “The 355” strikes is the “Pulp Fiction” gong. Remarking on the resemblence to the fictional “Fox Force Five” will lost on many people because we’re talking about a film that’s over 25-years old.
In “Pulp Fiction” Uma Thurman throws away a joke after the date night from hell and tells an amusing anecdote about a failed television series called “Fox Force Five.”
“The 355” is “Fox Force Five” and you can easily see why it was cancelled as a pilot.
All the plot points are common denominator, all the set pieces are designed for large shoot-outs. Nothing seems original so much as recycled motifs of better films: the auction for the McGuffin; the lover’s betrayal; enemies becoming allies.
Jessica Chastain and Penelope Cruz both have serious Oscar potential for their work in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” and “Parallel Mothers” respectively. Here Chastain plays the main spook of a femal quintet of secret agents from various countries. Cruz relunctantly joins the group as does Dinae Kruger, who during the film’s first act is the main antagonist.
Lupita Nyong’o, a British asset, fastens to the mission, which involves retreiving a hard drive whose contents can rule the world. Bingbing Fan, a Chinese asset, becomes part of the group in the final leg of their journey.
Stunts and pyro feels adequate but it’s nothing you haven’t seen before. When a film cannot one-up a “Charlie’s Angels” reboot it’s time to terminate.