Anna, an action movie starring a woman

Sasha Luss in Anna

Anna puts a woman at the front of an action packed spy thriller. It’s full of fight scenes and assassinations, double crosses and underhanded tricks. Most everything about the plot is unrealistic, because action movies by definition are unrealistic. But this one is carelessly unrealistic.

Anna came out in 2019, and Netflix is just now promoting it. It was meant to be a big breakthrough role for Sasha Luss, the star. However, at that time the writer and director, Luc Besson, was under investigation for sexual assault charges and the film got shoved to the back and not promoted. Maybe the current Netflix exposure will give Sasha Luss the boost the film was meant to give her years ago.

Anna felt like a remake of Besson’s earlier French film La Femme Nikita. Anna was set in 1985 in Russia, but there was absolutely no effort made to be real about 1985. There were cell phones and laptops and ATM machines and modern cars and all sorts of out-of-time elements to the movie. It felt careless and sloppy.

But that’s the thing about action movies, isn’t it? Cram in enough well-choreographed fight scenes and nobody cares if the actual story is lacking.

The Actual Story

It was a good cast. That always helps.

Sasha Luss in Anna

Anna lived in Moscow in terrible circumstances. She was with an abusive man. She applied to be allowed to enlist in the Navy, thinking that would be her ticket out of the hell she lived in.

Luke Evans in Anna

KGB agent Alex (Luke Evans) noticed her application. She was smart, multilingual, good at chess. He recruited her to be in the KGB. Her cover would be she was a fashion model living in Paris.

Helen Mirren in Anna

Alex’s and Anna’s boss was Olga (Helen Mirren). Anna spent a year in training with Olga and off they sent her to kill people while working full time as a model.

Lera Abova and Sasha Luss in Anna

In Paris, Anna started a romance with fellow model Maude (Lera Abova). They lived together. (The director put Anna in lots of sex scenes with men but none with her girlfriend, so don’t expect to see any lesbianing going on.)

Cillian Murphy in Anna

A dude from the CIA, Lenny (Cillian Murphy), grabbed Anna. He knew she was KGB and wanted her to be a double agent and kill some KGB honchos in Russia. It was better than getting killed, so she agreed to do it. Plus he promised her she could have her freedom from both the KGB and CIA if she accomplished the objective.

Above all else, she wanted her freedom. Using flim flam, subterfuge, and some unexpected double crosses the movie finally came to a close with what might actually be considered a happy ending.

This wasn’t the best female driven action movie I’ve ever seen, but it was good enough to be entertaining.

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