Swanner: Stephanie Patrick’s (Blake Lively) life hasn’t turned out the way she had hoped after her family was killed in an airline explosion, a flight she was supposed to have been on. Distraught over being a sole survivor, she becomes a hooker junkie living in London. Proctor (Raza Jaffery), a journalist, contacts her to say there was a bomb on the flight that killed her family, and the man that made that bomb was living in London. Proctor asks her help in seeking revenge. After she blows a chance at killing the bomber, Stephanie ends up working with a man (Jude Law) who she trains with to become the assassin she needs to be.
Directed by Reed Morano and written by Mark Burnell, the film is slow to start, spending most of the first half in flashbacks of the family, and of Stephanie getting high and fighting anyone trying to help her. Morano won an Emmy for directing The Handmaids Tale, and it shows here with the slow storytelling and drab exteriors. Burnell’s script is messy, with its terrible first half, but makes it up in the second half when this film becomes the thriller it’s supposed to be. Everything gets better in the second hour of the film, except at that point the audience was just waiting for something positive to happen.
Blake Lively does a nice job by creating a character who is almost unrecognizable, so beautiful Lively doesn’t come off as another actress trying to jump into action films. She pulls her punches and it’s effective. The rest of the cast is good with performances from Law, Jaffery, Sterling K Brown, Daniel Mays, and Max Casella. This film could have been very entertaining, but with its slow start and far too linear script, it suffers from too much character development. Her family was killed and now she seeks revenge. That should have been the first ten minutes of the movie, not the first half. One last thing, I know they kept going back to the flashbacks of the family and her mother’s face as motivation for the character, but it became close to comical how often it was used.
Swanner: 2 stars for the second hour of the film