'Ava' Review With Casey
An efficient assassin traveling the globe tries to reconcile her damaged family relationships and fight her own superiors for survival when the tables turn against her.
Dark, female-centered, action films are apparently always in demand in Hollywood with varying levels of success. In just the last three years, we've had Atomic Blonde (2017), Ghost in the Shell (2017), Red Sparrow (2018), Tomb Raider (2018), Peppermint (2018), and Anna (2019). And this year alone, we've seen The Rhythm Section, The Hunt, and The Old Guard. Believe me, this list could go on and on. Because of this female action surplus, Ava felt like an oversized helping of mashed potatoes. It's the least tasty item on your plate, but it's still a staple of cooking no one seems able to refuse.
With committed performances from prestige actors including Jessica Chastain (It Chapter Two, 2019); John Malkovich (Bird Box, 2018); and Geena Davis (Marjorie Prime, 2017); the film tries hard to present a slick but realistic action adventure with guns, knives, and fists combined with wounded feelings and strained love. Sadly, the writing felt so shallow and recycled, the actors weren't given much to work with. Some of the lines meant to evoke dramatic intensity are: "Rescind the kill order," and "Why does someone want you dead?" Not exactly inspired or creative for a serious, determined, R-rated action drama.
Jessica Chastain is a valiantly focused actress who clearly worked hard to portray a woman struggling with sobriety, a broken heart, and murder. But it's simply not enough to save Ava from a lack of focus, imagination, and maturity. The film had a few moments of adrenaline-laced excitement, but as a whole it was just okay.