With John Wick Chapter 3 now out, a new female assassin action film has released, titled Anna.
Could this be mere coincidence or an emerging trend in the action film genre?
Anna is a film by French director Luc Besson, who is no stranger to the action genre, having written and directed popular films such as Nikita, The Fifth Element, Taken, The Transporter, Lucy and many more.
Unlike John Wick, which already establishes the lead character as a seasoned assassin, Anna illustrates the journey of Anna Poliatova (Sasha Luss) as she transforms from being a helpless woman living in the slums of Moscow into the most dangerous KGB operative.
The standout feature of the film is its narrative. With time jumps and a back and forth between past and present, the film’s story is unpredictable and engaging, with plot twists that are surprising and satisfying.
Character development is a key feature of Anna, as we follow Anna’s progression throughout the film. Along the way, we are introduced to key characters, Olga (Helen Mirren), Alex (Luke Evans) and Lenny (Cillian Murphy), who each play an important part in Anna’s development and ultimate struggle to be free from being a government operative.
The dynamic between these three characters, in particular, makes for an entertaining watch as we are led to believe certain things about them that may not necessarily be true. This makes watching the film all the more intriguing as it’s challenging to predict and foresee what’s to happen next throughout the film.
The action is fast paced, with combat that is as striking as John Wick or Atomic Blonde. One thing of note is the parallel between John Wick and Anna when it comes to their gun-fu and combat style. One example is that John kills his enemies with stationery, while Anna, utilises plates and whiteware. This truly portrays the notion of how highly skilled these assassins are at eliminating threats using any means necessary, which is both gory and yet exhilarating to watch on screen.
A fascinating and unpredictable film with bold action is nothing without a good soundtrack and visuals. Anna makes use of music to breathe more life into the action scenes, as well as keeping audiences captivated. The same is said for the visuals in the film. The contrast between the cold and dull winter in Moscow and the ‘chic’ and fashionable Paris adds an essence of time and place within the film, allowing audiences to keep track of Anna’s journey.
Whilst Anna may not have a lead actress with star power unlike Atomic Blonde, the film is invigorating, entertaining and refreshing. The way in which the film progresses makes for an interesting and unpredictable watch, something that is often lacking in film these days. The action may be over-the-top at some points too but it manages to add a sense of realism to the life of KGB operatives and the work that they do behind the scenes.
With more and more films following this genre of action, it’ll be interesting to see what’s to come next. Perhaps one day we’ll see a cross-over of sorts between the many assassin characters in modern day films.
Anna is now playing in New Zealand cinemas.