starring Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Mike Moh, Adrien Brody
screenplay by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick and Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers
directed by Dexter Fletcher
starring Jennifer Lopez, Lucy Paez, Omari Hardwick, Joseph Fiennes
screenplay by Misha Green and Andrea Berloff and Peter Craig
directed by Niki Caro
by Walter Chaw Two new entries in the woman-warrior subgenre of action pictures find a pretty abysmal knock-off of Knight and Day in the Ana de Armas vehicle Ghosted (with villain Adrien Brody doing a weird accent) and a pretty fair knock-off of Hanna in the Jennifer Lopez vehicle The Mother (with villain Joseph Fiennes doing a different weird accent). The one is ultimately a half-assed romcom, the other a grim survivalist ex-military Stella Dallas melodrama. They share a queasy desperation, as well as a sense that they've lapped their respective sell-by dates by at least a full creative cycle. It's that feeling where you recognize someone at the party who hasn't been invited, and they know you know but no one wants to say anything. The best modern iterations of this kind of movie are Renny Harlin's The Long Kiss Goodnight and James Cameron's Aliens. I wonder if my overall fatigue with the genre isn't a product of my searching for those highs again in the intervening, largely disappointing decades. Part of me feels like I should celebrate non-IP attempts at mature actioners--but the rest of me feels like I'd rather be watching something that doesn't suck. It's the eternal struggle.