When Simon Kinberg directed and released Dark PhoeniX three years ago, it was seen as a ginormously weak sendoff for the X-Men franchise, if it ends up a sendoff at all. It was definitely inferior to Logan by a mile, but I didn’t find it that bad. I actually gave it a B. I found it an appropriate running time unlike X-Men: Apocalypse, which I hated, I found it quite entertaining, also unlike Apocalypse, and that was enough to make it passable. Now Kinberg has returned to the director’s chair with The 355.
The movie begins in Colombia involving a classified meeting in a mansion about a hard drive that has access to every computer and launch device on the planet and if someone attempts to copy it, it self-destructs. Never mind how this was built or if it has a special name. The movie isn’t really interested in giving us an edgy thing to go after. A shootout by authorities who were intercepting the sale leads it to go missing, and CIA operative Mason Browne, or “Mace” (Jessica Chastain who also starred as the Dark PhoeniX antagonist) teams up with her only real friend Nick (Sebastian Stan) disguised as a married couple on their honeymoon in Paris to retrieve it. But soon Mace ends up separated from Nick and in a shootout with a German operative (played by the always likably intense Diane Kruger) she finds a fair few people are playing cat and mouse with whoever has this device, and Mace’s new team involves her, Kruger’s character Marie over a mutual desire to thwart whoever the true enemy is, tech whiz Khadijah (the incredible Lupita Nyong’o) and therapist thrown into the lion’s den Graciela (Penelope Cruz).
So, to kind of spoil the meaning of the title, 355 is the codename of a real-life anonymous female spy for the Patriots during the American Revolution. But a more proper title would be The 355’s, but I bet they had a meeting or two on this name and went with what they found to be catchier.
I kept looking around for a reason to dislike this movie more than like, but nothing was around to supersede my enjoyment. Apart from a few methods of gadgetry and trickery that are clever, such as ringing all the phones in the area so the only ones who don’t stop are phones on suspicious closed networks, or tricking someone into telling indirectly which artifact has the drive in it, and the plethora of diversity and multiculturalism in the spy group, there’s nothing original in this movie. But one can be appreciative of the last exception I gave. Every woman here is perfectly cast. We have an American, Latina, Chinese, BIPOC and German all at the helm, making it justifiable for the background in the poster to be full of different countries.
The 355 is a very by-the-numbers two-hour action movie, especially in a very routine ending, but it’s at least also effortlessly watchable and inoffensive.