Cinematic Releases: A Femme Fatal Disaster: Anna (2019) - Reviewed

What a waste of a pretty face.

Luc Besson really likes making action movies about sexy women kicking all kinds of butts. You can tell because he's remade La Femme Nikita at least three times now, each with a little different twist that doesn't really do much to add anything really unique to its source story. Anna is the latest travesty guilty of this sin- concerning KGB-CIA double agent Anna M., who finds herself inexplicably drafted into the world of espionage. Its eye-catching trailer, featuring an intense hand-to-gun combat situation in a nearly botched assassination attempt, proves to contain the one and only interesting scene in the entire thing- every other chapter was a flashback that explained what had just happened without offering any real substance or reason as to why I should even begin to care about Anna's circumstance- until Cillian Murphy inevitably comes into play as the CIA recruiter who drags her into her double agent life.

For a 119-minute flick, Anna felt excruciatingly long and insufferable, choosing instead to hallmark the different points of its story with unbelievably dry spats of dialogue between characters before exiting into another montage of Anna killing off a few more targets. Admittedly, Besson tries to keep an air of mystery about with his constant timeline-hopping narrative decision; but, ultimately, it leads to a contrived Shyamalanesque twist fest that constantly wants you to look at the screen, mouth agape, as its next ridiculous plot twist comes out of absolutely nowhere. Two hours feels like four when most of it is the main character whispering and arguing with her coworkers about her private life and longing for freedom from the shackles of espionage.

Admittedly, there are a few pretty interesting action sequences that Besson directs with the same kind of grace and style that made Valerian and Lucy fun cult hits, but these moments are too few and far between to offer any real counterbalance from what feels like hours upon hours of bland and boring exposition that tries its hardest to keep you invested in its pretzel-twisty tale that goes around and around too many times for its own good. Luc Besson is clearly trying to reach backwards into his female-centric action heroine roots (which definitely won't work with his current public situation), but there wasn't really enough action in this to make it really worth the trouble.

I long for something truly original to come from Besson's promising mind once again, but I'm worried that the once promising talent that he had has ultimately faded away into box office failure. His days of Leon and The Fifth Element are long gone, and Anna's downright abysmal $4 million opening weekend may be a telltale sign that he needs to stop retreading old ground and spring for something new and original. That or just lay low for a few years until the dust settles amidst all his public debacle. The latter would probably be a better idea.

-Wes Ball