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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Feb 15, 2022



THE MAIN attraction of “The 355” is it assembles five top actresses of various nationalities playing ass-kicking women who give hell to the bad guys.  

They represent the different but united colors of Benetton. The title refers to Agent 355, a legendary female spy during the American Revolution. 

The five stars in the cast are Jessica Chastain (American, currently nominated in the Oscars for “Eyes of Tammy Faye”), Penelope Cruz (Spanish, also best actress Oscar nominee for “Parallel Mothers”, but she has won as best supporting actress in 2008 for Woody Allen’s “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”), 

Diane Kruger (German, 2017 Cannes best actress for ‘In the Fade’), Lupita Nyong’o (Kenyan-Mexican, 2013 Oscar best supporting actress for “12 Years a Slave”, her first film) and Fan Bingbing (Chinese superstar who has won best actress plums at the Tokyo and San Sebastian International Filmfests.) 

The movie starts in Bogota where a special drive is invented by the young son of a Colombian drug trafficker. 

It can get into any digital system and cause instant cyber destruction, like airplanes suddenly losing power while flying and crashing down. 

The Colombian drug kingpin is selling it to an international crime lord, Elijah Clarke (Jason Flemyng). But Clark is such a bad ass who ruthlessly double crosses and kills both the young inventor and his father. 

He is not able to get hold of the device, though, since soldiers immediately arrive and invade the whole place. 

A Colombian operative (Edgar Ramirez) finds  the device and goes rogue, intending to sell it to the highest bidder who can use it as a deadly weapon to blackmail any country. 

CIA agent Mace Brown (Jessica) is assigned to get it from him in Paris. She goes with her partner and boyfriend, Nick (Sebastian Stan). 

But a German undercover agent, Marie (Diane Kruger), intervenes during their meeting and all hell breaks loose. 

Mace runs after Marie and Nick runs after the Colombian agent. Mace learns later that Nick has been killed in an alley by the bad guys. 

She then asks the help of Khadijan (Lupita), a former British M16 agent and a brilliant computer hacker, to help trace the whereabouts of the device. 

Also reluctantly joining the fray is a Latina psychologist and mother, Graciela (Penelope), who’s more concerned about going home to her husband and kids. 

Add to this the appearance of a mysterious Chinese girl, Lin Mi Sheng (Fan Bingbing), who manages to get hold of the device. 

The movie jumps from Paris to Morocco to London and to Shanghai for the finale. The five women eventually have to learn to trust each other and work together to help save the world. 

In the course of the story, there will be one big shocking twist and we also get to know more about the back stories of the other girls. The most interesting is that of Marie, whose father also used to be an agent but she snitched on him when she learned that he’s secretly working as a Russian spy. 

“The 355” works as Director Simon Kinberg (“X-Men” films) follows the tried and tested formula for action flicks with the obligatory chase scenes and exciting action set pieces. 

The characters are constantly moving so it’s quite fast paced. What makes it different from the usual action flick is that the leads are all female who are kicking the ass of the villains who all happen to be males. 

The movie is an engaging spy thriller, providing great escapist entertainment by combining action, suspense and a bit of tourism as it goes globetrotting from one big city to another. 

The tough women who combine forces work well together and make it a lot of fun showing female power all the way, as opposed to the traditional male-driven action thriller.  

Usually, reviewers would pan this kind of generic action flick. So just don’t take it too seriously or ask too many questions about some plot holes as you might not enjoy it.