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UNIVERSAL

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Simon Kinberg
Cast:
Jessica Chastain, Penélope Cruz, Lupita Nyong'o
Writing Credits:
Theresa Rebeck, Simon Kinberg

Synopsis:
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.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DVS
French Dolby 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French

Runtime: 123 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 2/22/2022

Bonus:
• “Chasing Through Paris” Featurette
• “Action That Hurts” Featurette
• “Reconstructing Marrakesh” Featurette
• “Chaos At the City of Dreams” Featurette
• “VFX Breakdowns” Featurettes
• DVD Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

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RELATED REVIEWS


The 355 [Blu-Ray] (2022)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 21, 2022)

When we last saw Jessica Chastain, she starred as a much-ridiculed televangelist in 2021’s biopic The Eyes of Tammy Faye. Chastain takes on a wholly different part for 2022’s action flick The 355.

A Colombian drug lord helps develop a cyber weapon that could cause massive worldwide disruption if it fell into the wrong hands. When master villain Elijah Clarke (Jason Flemyng) attempts to nab it, Colombian agent Luis Rojas (Edgar Ramírez) gets the device.

CIA operative Mason “Mase” Brown (Chastain) gets the assignment to retrieve the device, but she finds competition from others. Along with German agent Marie Schmidt (Diane Kruger), retired English MI6 computer specialist Khadijah Adiyeme (Lupita Nyong’o) and Colombian psychologist Graciela Rivera (Penélope Cruz), a team forms reluctantly to chase down the gadget and save the world.

Males long dominated the world of action movies, and that remains true. Nonetheless, females have made baby steps in the genre and become more prominent in these kinds of flicks.

Most of this stems from the boost the superhero genre gives to its properties. While male-led movies still fill most of those entries, flicks like Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman showed audiences will buy tickets to movies with female leads.

Outside of the comic book flicks, however, not a lot has managed to get folks to patronize female-oriented action movies. As I looked at grosses for the last few years, I found it difficult to locate non-comic book action flicks with female leads that made big bucks.

I guess 2021’s Quiet Place Part II counts, but that was about all I could find from recent history. We did have a brief spate of these films after the success of 2012’s Hunger Games but the trend didn’t last.

Not that Hollywood tried too hard, as they don’t often attempt action films with females as the clear main characters. 2018 brought a Tomb Raider reboot that did okay but also failed to find enough of an audience to spawn a sequel.

In this setting, 355 comes as especially unusual. Not only does it bring us a rare female-centered action movie, but also it packs a team of women, with men firmly stuck in supporting parts.

If nothing else, I give 355 credit for this choice. I suppose the “easily trigged” crowd will view the film as “woke”, for not only does it focus on women, but also – gasp! – it gives us a decidedly multicultural group.

I do think entertainment can endorse diversity in a way that feels gratuitous and pandering. However, 355 doesn’t suffer from that concern, as its mix of races and nationalities manages to seem natural and appropriate.

It helps that 355 boasts a terrific set of actors. Nyong’o and Cruz both have won Oscars, Chastain has been nominated, and Kruger remains a solid pro as well. Include Bingbing Fan as a mystery woman who crops up along the way and 355 comes with a remarkably well-qualified cast.

Indeed, I would regard this group as over-qualified for the material on display. Despite the talent we find, 355 delivers a wholly mediocre action flick.

Have I seen worse genre movies than 355? Certainly, as the film remains moderately watchable from start to finish.

But boy, “moderately watchable” presents a very low bar. If one hopes to find anything new or creative from 355, one will encounter disappointment.

Other than its cast and “all-female” orientation, 355 finds nothing fresh to do with the genre. Instead, it piles on as many clichés as it can find and plops them into one muddled package.

Unsurprisingly, the “doomsday device” acts as a typical MacGuffin, and I don’t mind that – or I wouldn’t care if the film found more excitement along the way. Unfortunately, the various action scenes come across as perfunctory and without real spark or flair.

Every once in a while, 355 shows modest signs of life, and I like Cruz’s take on the psychologist forced into violent duty. A scene in which the long-married mother of two needs to flirt becomes a minor highlight.

Unfortunately, far too much of 355 just feels predictable and ordinary. Again, the strong cast and the general level of professionalism on display ensures the movie keeps us from boredom, but little about it stands out as memorable.


The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio A-/ Bonus C

The 355 appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The Blu-ray replicated the source well.

Sharpness seemed strong. Only minor instances of softness materialized, as the movie usually seemed concise and accurate.

Shimmering and jagged edges remained absent, and I witnessed no edge haloes. Print flaws failed to appear, so this was a clean presentation.

Orange/amber and teal dominated the palette, but not to an oppressive degree. The colors were fine within their stylistic restraints.

Blacks looked deep and taut, and shadows showed good clarity. A few low-light shots could be a bit dense but they were more than acceptable. This turned into a pleasing transfer.

No complaints accompanied the excellent DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of 355. With plenty of action, the soundscape often opened up in a dynamic manner and used all the channels to positive advantage.

Various vehicles zoomed around the room and guns peppered the soundscape to solid effect. The soundfield added to the experience.

Audio quality worked well. Speech remained natural and distinctive, without edginess or other concerns.

Music was bold and dynamic, and effects satisfied. Those elements were expressive and impactful, as they showed fine definition and power. This was a very good mix.

Two Deleted Scenes fill a total of six minutes, 20 seconds. Almost that entire span comes from one scene in which we get a standoff between Graciela and Luis. It offers some decent tension but takes up too much time to fit into the main film.

The much shorter second scene just expands an action scene by a little. It doesn’t contribute much.

Some featurettes follow, and Chasing Through Paris runs four minutes, 58 seconds. It offers notes from writer/director Simon Kinberg, producer Kelly Carmichael, 2nd unit director/stunt coordinator Jimmy O’Dee, director of photography Tim Maurice-Jones, and actors Jessica Chastain, Sebastian Stan, Diane Kruger, and Edgar Ramírez.

The show covers a big set piece shot in France. Despite a fluffy tone, it gives us a decent look at this part of the production.

Action That Hurts goes for five minutes, 27 seconds and involves Chastain, Kruger, Carmichael, Kinberg, Ramírez, O’Dee, production designer Simon Elliott and military advisor Richard Smedley.

It functions the same way as “Chasing”, albeit for a different sequence. Expect another useful but promotional reel.

Next comes Reconstructing Marrakesh, a five-minute, 34-second clip that includes Chastain, Elliott, Kruger, costume designer Stephanie Collie, Carmichael, Kinberg, O’Dee, and actor Lupita Nyong’o.

Unsurprisingly, this one covers elements connected to the movie’s Morocco scenes. It works fine and continues to peppy tone of the prior two shows.

Chaos At the City of Dreams lasts three minutes, 51 seconds and delivers comments from Chastain, O’Dee, Kinberg, Stan, special effects supervisor Michael Dawson and special effects assistant supervisor Manex Efrem.

As you might expect, this program adopts the same vibe as the others while it examines aspects of the movie’s climactic fight. As you might also expect, it offers enough good info to make it worth a look, but it lacks depth.

Finally, two VFX Breakdowns occupy a total of five minutes, These show various shots before and after visual effects work. I like this kind of piece.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of 355. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

With a very talented cast involved, The 355 comes with potential to work better than the average action movie. Unfortunately, nothing else about it satisfies, as it seems like a scattered, generic thriller. The Blu-ray boasts excellent picture and audio along with a smattering of bonus materials. 355 squanders its potential to become an underwhelming action tale.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1.6666 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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