International crime fighting - The 355 (2022) - Review
When a top-secret weapon falls into mercenary hands, a wild card CIA agent joins forces with three international agents on a lethal mission to retrieve it, while staying a step ahead of a mysterious woman who's tracking their every move.
This review was a challenging one for me. I had two competing voices in my head shouting for attention. One was the movie critic in me, that was trying to critique this movie on its merits of filmmaking and the story it was telling. The other was the "Man" in me trying to be somewhat objective when looking at a movie that had more messages than just the storytelling. This movie not only stoke some fires inside me but also when I discussed it with my wife. If you ignore all the buzz in Hollywood right now about how we need to show more diversity in filmmaking and you could eliminate the jabs obviously taken in the dialog of the movie, this is a decent action movie. It's a little predictable in parts, but as most action movies go today, the cookie-cutter Hollywood action movie usually gives the fans the action it is looking for without too much complex storytelling. This keeps the audience looking for the next big car chase or fighting scene. This movie has plenty of that, and for that, I give it praise. The part that I struggle with now watching Hollywood try to adapt to the uprising or need to have diversity is pandering to this need of shaming the people in the movie that you are trying to diversify. This "diversity" movie is about having an all-female lead cast. I look back to my movie watching history and see many female-empowering leads or costarring female roles that are truly great. Sigourney in Aliens, Linda in Terminator 2, Emily in Edge of Tomorrow. All strong female leads add to the storytelling of a great movie, for their character, not just because they are women. The 355 tries to balance this with an all-female main cast. I see glimpses of Hollywood trying to tell a good story but they are overshadowed by the activist need to take a shot at men. The biggest thing that stood out to me was the fact that all the women in the movie were good and all the men in the movie were bad guys. Now I can get the irony of trying to send a subtle message, but if the stance is for equality then why were there not bad women in this movie? When I discussed my points with my wife, she illuminated me to the point that when there is something that has been tilted for so long in one direction that when the balance starts to swing back in the other direction it does not feel very good for the people that have been enjoying the one-sided advantage for so long. A point that did not go unnoticed to me. My constant struggle with all things related to equality is about things being fair. If the true goal is equality then let's stick to that and leave the shaming and the irony on the cutting room floor. If you truly want men to watch movies starring women, then give them something they will like. A good story with lots of action, and activism left out of the movie.