The 355

‘The 355’ Strange title, but as obscure movie titles typically go, its origin is revealed during some not so random moment in the film. Sadly, ‘The 355,’ a gender flipping, mission impossible, flounders in every aspect and misses its mark. Its super-powered, all-star cast promises far more than the film delivers. Jessica Chastain, Lupita Nyong’o, Lin Mi Sheng, Diane Kruger, and Penelope Cruz look amazing, but they are merely window-dressing to a massive mess of a movie.

The ladies all play agents for various government spy organizations around the world. They use the name 355, based on the name for a real-life female operative during the Revolutionary War who joined George Washington’s Culper Spy Ring to give American generals key info about British troop movements. While no one knows her name, women working as undercover agents today often refer to themselves as 355. These modern-day spies take on many men in an effort to prevent a deadly hacker-developed doomsday device from getting into the wrong hands. And apparently, every man on earth wants it.

To say that ‘The 355’ is predictable is an understatement. It is basically, girls against boys and even in evening dresses, the gals kick butt. However, director Simon Kinberg misses every opportunity to showcase his stars and build suspense. Instead he relies on clichés and lame, transparent storytelling, absurd fight scenes and ridiculous gunplay sequences. Simply put, Kniberg offers nothing fresh. The ensemble cast meshes well and even with so little to work with they are fun to watch.

In truth, Kinberg and co-writer Theresa Rebeck’s script is so generic it is like a cookie-cutter of previous movies (with male stars). They did nothing to vamp it for their sexy, female leads and waste every opportunity to wow us. These gals are powerhouses in their own rights and by the time the movie ramps up, we simply don’t care, especially when we learn that the entire affair is a set-up for sequels.

‘The 355’ shines more than your typical lackluster first of year releases, but not enough to earn more than 2 ½ stars from me. Perhaps the PG-13 rating reigned in the possibilities. The ladies are indeed watchable, but for what ‘The 355’ they could have just performed improve and been more interesting. Indeed, these beauties will draw viewers to theatres, but I say pay matinee prices or watch at home after its theatrical run.

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