Greetings! Have you ever wondered if a movie's worth blowing the money on to see at the theater or what to add next to your NetFlix queue? Then you've come to the right place! Enjoy!

"Ava" Review

Alrightee then. It's going to be one of these reviews where you watch the trailer then we discuss. Start here, please:


OK, what is Ava about? Is it about Jessica Chastain playing the titular assassin, recruited and trained by John Malkovich, who has run afoul of Colin Ferrell's rules and wants her dead? Shooty shooty, fighty fighty, pretty girl gets mussy and she shoots him at the end? (Not a spoiler if you watched the trailer.) Also something with Common being an ex-boyfriend, too?

We'll you're partially right. Did you also notice the part about her incredibly toxic family (sister Jess Weixler and mother Geena Davis, who are so snarky that at one point I asked my girlfriend, "She's going to murder them, right?") and how singer sis is now engaged to Common having come together after Ava had bolted from their lives 8 years previously? How about how Ava is a recovering alcoholic and junkie and that big chunks of time are spent with her going to an AA meeting and thinking about drinking when she's not rescuing Common from his gambling addiction? No? Hmmm, wonder why?

It's as if writer Matthew Newton (whose Wikipedia page raises big questions as to how he's kept working with his track record of violence against women) couldn't decide whether he wanted to make a kickass assassin chick flick or a Lifetime movie about lousy families and addiction and decided to mash them together into a story that's half predictable thriller and half annoying melodrama. Perhaps he imaged it was a nuanced portrait of someone something overcoming demons blah-blah-woof-woof, but it's not.

The premise of there being Assassinations 'R' Us-type corporations with massive unseen infrastructures able to dispatch "cleanup teams" to mop up botched hits who have to knock off their best assassins is so hoary as to be as lame as wondering if the bickering couple with fall in love by the end of a rom-com. Just off the top of my head I can name La Femme Nikita, Mr. & Mrs. Smith and the John Wick series, but at least those had some buzzy style and didn't bog down in family drivel.

The thing is that trimmed of the entire family aspect, there may have been an interesting story to be told about an ace assassin who's always been verging on wobbly, finally annoying her masters too much with her existential angst. (You really need to pay attention to the opening credits because almost all of Chastain's backstory is conveyed via photos, news clippings, and screenshots.) This is mostly due to Chastain's usual brittle-shelled vulnerability that clues us into her inner turmoil. But it's all in service of a story that needed to pick a lane.

 Other than Chastain, Malkovich's performance is interesting if only he's not being his usual "I'm the new Christopher Walken; the guy who brings the weird to the supporting character tier" though his surrogate father figure purpose to Chastain is also threadbare. Davis is fine as an awful person with one scene clearly put in to justify her not being whacked. Ferrell is adequate in a cliched role. But it's Common who lives down to his moniker with yet another trademark wooden performance where he's only distinguishable from the sets by being the one wearing a watch cap.

While the fights are nicely choreographed and satisfyingly visceral - it's no Atomic Blonde, but that was directed by the guy who did John Wick and Deadpool 2 - and Chastain is plausible enough as an action heroine, Ava simply can't stand out from either of its genres to make it worth watching for either reason.

Score: 4/10. Skip it.


Post a Comment

DirkFlix. Copyright 2010-2015 Dirk Omnimedia Inc. All rights reserved.
Free WordPress Themes Presented by EZwpthemes.
Bloggerized by Miss Dothy