Let's cut to the chase. If you like “The Bourne Identity” or any of its sequels, you’ll like “Hanna.” If you like your action movies with an energizing techno soundtrack, “Hanna” is for you. If you like kids and ass-kicking teenagers showing the government what for, “Hanna” is your best bet this weekend.
“Hanna” stars Saoirse Ronan (“Atonement” and “The Lovely Bones”) as Hanna, an aggressive young fighting machine who has been trained by her father Erik (Eric Bana). Erik has been training Hanna for some sort of mission that is brought about when Hanna flicks the switch of a distress box, sending a message to Marissa (Cate Blanchett) who, along with other vicious secret agents, want to kill the ultimate fighting machine that is the young Hanna.
Joe Wright, who has previously filmed chick-flick classics “Atonement” and “Pride and Prejudice,” seems an unlikely director for a fast-paced action flick, but he actually holds his own in the film. Contrary to other action films that seem to use the shakiest camera money can buy while cutting scenes so fast you get motion sickness, Wright uses long cuts during action scenes that keep you guessing as the fights unfold. Probably in the vein of his drawn out love scenes, Wright keeps the shot on one character, and you follow them through the fight. You are at the mercy of the camera, so sit tight and enjoy.
Ronan is another surprising cog of this movie. Following the trend of films like “Kick-Ass,” young girls are apparently a force to be reckoned with these days. Who would have thought the jealous troublemaker in “Atonement” would go on to be a bloodthirsty killer? Makes you think James McVoy and Keira Knightley got off easy. For a PG-13 movie, she gets away with many vicious murders. Although some of the fight scenes with her seem a bit ridiculous (an awkward teenager taking down a whole room of armed security guards?), Ronan gives it all for the role.
The soundtrack is the pulse of the film. The Chemical Brother’s techno beats supply the tension that is essential to the fast-paced plot. Even for people who do not care for techno (namely this reviewer), the music really did accentuate the film perfectly.
Even with these great aspects, the film is not too spectacular. It uses the same plot devices as other films of this government-bred-fighter genre. The European locations filmed are not gorgeous locales but are instead the gritty and unappealing aspects of the continent. Where some movies fall flat with potentially good scripts, I think Wright and crew made the best of a script that easily could have been a hilarious train wreck. That in itself should be an accomplishment.
At the end of the day, however, I would not discourage people from watching it. If you are looking for a basic action, “Hanna” is worth seeing. At no point did I look for the time wondering when the film would end — the telltale sign of a bad film. “Hanna” has enough action, plot twists and star power to keep you invested in the film. It’s a perfect rainy day film, if it ever rained here.
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