Directed by Reed Morano
Starring: Blake Lively, Jude Law, Sterling K. Brown, Tawfeek Barhom
Runtime: 109 minutes
Rating: R (for sexual content, language throughout, and some drug use.)
This film reminded me of action films we’ve seen in recent years. Think of the Taken series with Liam Neeson. There is a twist in this film, however. Our heroine Stephanie Patrick (Lively) doesn’t start our film as a former soldier or having a particular set of skills. (Aside from being fluent with languages.) I went back and forth between this film and Gretel & Hansel but choose this to get back into the action genre this week. I want to give a shout out to my guy JeVon at Portsmouth Cinema. I’ve mentioned him in the past, but I want to say it again. I’ve never met anyone who is happier to be at work. He always has insight on the upcoming movies and it ALWAYS smiling. Keep it up JeVon.
Onto the film.
We start our journey in Morocco, the city of Tangier. The camera puts us in first person perspective. We hear heavy breathing as someone walks upstairs, pointing a gun at someone’s head. We then cut to who’s eyes we were viewing the scene through. It is Stephanie Patrick (Lively) It’s realized then that this is a flash forward to what’s to come.
8 months later. We are in London. Patrick (Lively) is trembling and rocking back and forth reminiscing of her former life. She thinks of times with her family. Life is good. She is happy. We realize this is not the same life she is living now. 3 years ago, her family all perished (mother, father, brother, and sister) in a plane crash. She has taken to a life of prostitution and drugs. Her next “john” comes in. His name is Keith Proctor (Jaffrey) and he’s a freelance journalist. He just wants to talk. Proctor lets Patrick know her family wasn’t killed in a typical plane crash. There was a bomb on board. We learn that a terrorist named Reza (Barhom) was working for a man codenamed U-17 when he made the bomb for this attack. Originally Patrick doesn’t care and makes him leave but after more memories flood her mind she searches for answers. She learns that Proctor has intel from someone named “B” (Law) Times are changing for our heroine. She wants to find the men responsible and take them out.
We then go off to Scotland is search of B. The film up to this point dragged at points. It tried overwhelmingly to make us see Patrick’s hurt. I felt it dragged on here when I wanted the story to continue forward. When we do get to Scotland (FINALLY) things pick up. I said in the beginning that our protagonist isn’t a solider. She is on the way to becoming one. With training she slowly learns not just how to survive, but how to fight. I just stated how the film dragged on when it came to showing Patrick’s struggle, where it could have used more plot is during the training. You are led to believe months have passed, but I felt like it was a stretch to see a “regular” person learn so much in what appeared to be a short amount of time.
“I’m sending you out into the field.” Says B. Stephanie Patrick is off on her first mission to Madrid to find Marc Serra (Brown) The film then strays into the typical spy tropes. I wrote in my notes several times, “plot twist” and “overdone” We’ve seen these stories play out over and over and that took me from the story. This wasn’t a complete loss.
Blake Lively and Jude Law are both EXCELLENT in their roles. They take a cookie-cutter story and elevate it. I also noticed several scenes that looked gorgeous on the screen. One in particular where she is swimming shows how alone she is and the magnitude of what’s at hand. Without the cast being top notch, I don’t think I would recommend this film at all. If you’re a fan of the genre give it a watch. If not wait for Netflix/Redbox. Next week we will be into the action genre again, with a superhero twist. Birds of Prey. 2 star out of 5 #SHOPLOCAL
Andrew McManus is Operations Manager for Patties & Pints and its parent company Eflow Development. He can be reached at [email protected] or 740-981-9158