The Reel Review
French director Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, Lucy) trots out this modernized rehash of his previous La Femme Nikita, about a beautiful waif turned deadly assassin, this time starring supermodel Sasha Luss (Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets) as Anna, a Russian beauty who becomes a deadly KGB killer between modeling shoots.
For a relative newcomer to acting, the stunning, cerulean-eyed Luss actually is very impressive as an action star and the film has a slick, stylish look, an energetic score and some entertaining, well-choreographed action scenes. But unfortunately the story itself is saddled with a frustratingly confusing hodge podge of time jumps, laughably bad dialogue, and sloppy production (in one scene the dye packs simulating blood stains explode on the wall long after Anna shoots one of the bad guys – oops). Even the typically brilliant Helen Mirren’s performance seems phoned in.
Not only has Besson previously given us better spy films like La Femme Nikita and The Professional, but we’ve already seen better, female-driven spy knockoffs Red Sparrow and Atomic Blonde in the past year. Anna is set 20 years ago. Ironically, Besson’s storytelling seems stuck there as well.
• Anna opened with little fanfare or advance screenings after a group of women came forward accusing director Luc Besson of inappropriate behavior. No charges were filed but as a result, the film, which was supposed to be the big breakthrough for supermodel-turned-actress Sasha Luss, opened quietly and was a box office dud, earning just short of its $33 million budget.
• Of the entire cast playing Russian characters, only Sasha Luss, who also appeared in Besson’s Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, is Russian in real life.
• Helen Mirren and Luke Evans previously worked together in 2017’s The Fate of the Furious, playing mother and son.
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