“One that January was made for...”
THE 355 (2022)
THE "IMDB" PREMISE:
"When a top-secret weapon falls into mercenary hands, a wild card CIA agent joins forces with three international agents on a lethal mission to retrieve it, while staying a step ahead of a mysterious woman who's tracking their every move."
OUR [TO THE POINT] REVIEW:
The 355 is one of the first action/thrillers of 2022. A January release usually spells out the negative reception ahead of time, and in the case of this Simon Kinberg project, it speaks volumes. The 355 is a bland espionage heist film that ultimately comes down to betrayal and betrayal, twist after twist, and someone doing something that could have been accomplished in the first hour of the film to end all the madness.
From a directing standpoint, Simon Kinberg doesn’t have the largest resume when it comes to his directing. However, the few he does have show a less flattering side of the longtime screenwriter’s career. With such a stacked cast (reminiscent of the forgettable Ocean’s 8), the concerns lie in Kinberg’s direction, along with his part in the writing accompanied by scribe Theresa Rebeck.
The pacing in this film is just dreadful. At one moment the speed of the film feels like it's traveling a mile a minute, but then in the next act everything seems to slow to a sloth’s pace. Its inconsistent tone made the film feel exhausting after a while — dragging down a stellar cast with senseless twists and little development.
The film’s cast includes the likes of Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Diane Kruger, Penelope Cruz, and Sebastian Stan. Jessica Chastain is possibly at her worst in some time here, although her worst is still not considerably bad. Her performance was certainly lacking depth and emotion. The other members of the “355” shared a similar fate; remember how Kinberg handled multiple characters in X-Men: Dark Phoenix? It’s okay if you don’t (because who does?), but it’s just as choppy and forgettable.
The action reminded me of the sequels to Taken: cut to someone getting punched, cut to someone kicking, cut to someone punching the other, cut to someone turning, cut to someone running, etc. There are obsessive amounts of cuts that ruin the action scenes, making them a drag to sit through and failing to hold your attention long enough to know who is actually winning in a fight.
Concluding the film with a sequel-bait ending with one character saying, “bye” and another saying, “doubt it” is a sign of where the filmmakers/studio thought this could be going. The 355 was trying to be a mix of the original Mission: Impossible (1996) and the Ocean’s franchise (2001 – 2007, 2018), but ultimately fumbled in its action, storytelling, and lacking characters. This is one that January was made for, and sadly another reason to stay inside.