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.
Team-up action/adventure films tend to be a ton of fun. As long as the gathering feels natural and organic, who wouldn’t love trained protagonists joining forces to fight for justice? Seems like a recipe for success, especially when you have such an amazing cast as you have here in The 355. They’re the best part of the film by far and save it from near disaster to be quite honest. If it weren’t for them, it’s scary to fathom how this production would’ve turned out. However, it’s still entertaining enough to find some enjoyment if all you wanted was to see some guns blazing, with pretty faces, all while not taking the plot too seriously.
During filming for X-Men: Dark Phoenix director Simon Kinberg was pitched the idea for this female-led spy film in the same spirit as the Mission: Impossible and James Bond series by lead star Jessica Chastain. They worked well together during that production, so it’s not surprising they’d want to continue that relationship again. Unfortunately, this film can’t hold a candle to those two film series, but does share in common being at least fun. Kinberg is more known as a producer with knowledge of how to organize talented actors, but with his lack of directing experience, it seems he doesn’t know how to organize a script properly when they’re brought together.
Jumping back to the talent, this film is loaded with great Hollywood stars ranging from Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, The Help), Lupita Nyong’o (Black Panther), Diane Kruger (National Treasure), Penélope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Bingbing Fan (Iron Man 3), Sebastian Stan (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), and so many more. Everyone is incredible in their role, being extremely convincing in every sense imaginable. The film took its time flashing to each of their lives individually, giving you enough story to flesh out their passions and weaknesses which paid off towards the end during the climax. It wasn’t difficult to root for them even if the script they were given was as thin as the paper it was printed on.
The action provided was a highlight at least. This is especially true when it comes to Chastain. After seeing this film I want to see more of her wielding a gun and chasing down bad guys. She appeared as if she was born to do it, as if she was bred to do this and nothing else. There have been countless action scenes in Hollywood, but her chase sequence on foot in a small town chasing a motorcyclist was invigorating. Giving credit where it’s due, credit has to go to director Kinberg for this one. The way he shot these action scenes was brilliant, intense, and crafted together as art. There was no special technology used to my understanding. He was able to deliver the goods with just the basics of filmmaking, knowing what to capture in frame and how to edit properly was clear as day here. So if you want to see a bunch of guns and explosions crafted together well this film won’t disappoint.
However, the main aspect that will disappoint is the plot/synopsis. To say there’s so much that doesn’t make logical sense would be an understatement. So much so that it becomes frustrating. The reason being is there are opposing forces trying to accomplish their goal of dominance, which could’ve easily been achieved by simple character decisions that are not made. If you have a device that’s the most advanced dangerous device created by man being traded underground at your facility, wouldn’t it be a good idea to have your guards check the guests to see if they have weapons on them? This is pre-kindergarten logic 101. If you’re already a cold-hearted murderer, wouldn’t it make sense to kill everyone in the room to make sure they don’t immediately foil your plan shortly after? If the CIA, FBI, NSA, and MI6 all have a common goal to stop the bad guys, wouldn’t it be a good idea for them to communicate and work together? This isn’t even the half of it, and all of these questions are ignored and it’s mind-boggling. Yes, the different agencies eventually start working together, but it was far too late. So many people died in this film unnecessarily because of a lack of communication, and it’s shameful. I will also say that the stakes did crank up towards the end with the amount of violence forcing me to take the film more seriously, but it still also suffers from being thirty minutes too long.
It’s unfortunate that this film wasn’t better than what it ended up being, because it had so much potential. The budget was there, along with the talent, but the execution was a failure. However, the lead actors/actresses did deliver a good show, even if they were forced not to use their whole brain capacity. There’s enough material here for a sequel or series in the future if the studio is interested enough and it makes a decent amount of profit. But if it were to continue a new writer or script supervisor needs to be present, because what they did here was a complete misfire.