DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Luc Besson
Sasha Luss, Helen Mirren, Luke Evans
Writing Credits:
Luc Besson

Beneath Anna Poliatova's striking beauty lies a secret that will unleash her indelible strength and skill to become one of the world's most feared government assassins.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English Dolby Atmos
Spanish Dolby 5.1
English Descriptive Audio
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 119 min.
Price: $24.99
Release Date: 9/24/2019

• “Dressing a Doll” Featurette
• “Anatomy of a Scene” Featurette
• “Unnesting a Russian Doll” Featurette
• “Constructing the Car Chase” Featurette
• Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver;
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer.


Anna [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 5, 2020)

Back in 1990, Luc Besson made a splash as the writer/director of La Femme Nikita, an action flick about a female assassin. 2019 brought a new effort in a similar vein via Anna.

In Moscow circa 1990, Anna Poliatova (Sasha Luss) lives a modest life, but all this changes when she gets recruited to become a model. This sends her to Paris and a radically different kind of existence.

However, it turns out that Anna’s career as a model acts as a cover for a different occupation: assassin. After years of deadly training, she uses this ruse to complete assignments, though inevitably, complications arise.

With films like Nikita, Leon and Fifth Element, Besson enjoyed a strong 90s. Even though it disappointed many, I even liked 1999’s historical epic The Messenger.

Perhaps related to that flick’s commercial failure and iffy reviews, Besson retreated from the director’s chair for a few years, though he had some success as a writer. Still, he didn’t direct another “Besson-style” movie until 2013’s The Family.

That one didn’t do much business. Very much in the Fifth Element vein, 2017’s Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets made $225 million worldwide, but with a budget of $177 million, it lost money.

In between, Besson directed 2014’s Lucy, yet another flick about a deadly, sexy female. However, this one found an audience, and with a budget of only $40 million, it turned a big profit via its $458 worldwide gross.

Besson failed to replicate that success with Anna. Because it cost only $30 million, it didn’t lose the buckets of cash suffered by Valerian, but since it brought in a hair under $31 million, it turned into another financial disappointment.

Maybe this occurred because Anna offers a wholly mediocre movie. While never a truly bad film, it seems oddly uninspired and flat.

Some of this comes from the story’s structure, as Besson mixes an apparently never-ending mix of flashbacks. These tend to feel superfluous and clumsy.

I suspect Besson figured all the back and forth would keep the audience on edge, but instead, we simply see the tale as confused. The chronological skips don’t feel organic, and they add nothing that wouldn’t work in a more straightforward narrative.

I get it: Besson wants the reveal that Anna acts as an assassin to come as a surprise. Of course, most viewers already saw trailers so they’ll know about this twist, but still, I understand his desire to make this a “big reveal”.

Besson didn’t need to muddy so many waters along the way, though. The flashbacks bring no greater impact to events, and they feel tacked on and semi-pointless.

Even without these choices, Anna simply lacks a compelling story. The film fails to develop Anna as much more than a fairly one-dimensional character, and the various plot complications don’t threaten to bring intrigue or excitement.

The use of Luss as our lead becomes a negative. Prior to Anna, her entire acting career consisted of a fairly small role in Valerian, and she lacks the gravity to pull off this part.

Sure, Luss looks right for the character, which should come as no surprise. Luss actually is a Russian fashion model, so it doesn’t turn into a stretch for her to resemble one.

Unfortunately, Luss displays little in terms of acting chops, so she creates a wan, forgettable presence as the main character. She also doesn’t display much impact during the action scenes, most of which rely on quick-cutting and cinematic tricks to convey any sense of excitement.

Given the nature of his career, Besson should be able to pull off thrilling sequences with ease, but the action beats of Anna seem perfunctory at best. Some of this may relate to Luss’s limitations, and some may connect to the banal stab at plot exploration

Whatever the case, Anna fails on the most basic level. Who wants to see an action movie with uninspiring action scenes?

To be sure, I’ve seen worse films than Anna, as it maintains too much professionalism to totally flop. Also, it tosses out a good supporting cast, and Helen Mirren’s campy turn as Anna’s handler almost redeems the movie.

Almost. Never better than mediocre, Anna delivers a wholly forgettable action tale.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C-

Anna appears in an aspect ratio of :1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie offered a quality presentation.

For the most part, sharpness worked well. A little softness occasionally hit some wide elements, but the majority of the movie boasted accurate delineation.

No signs of jagged edges or moiré effects materialized, and I witnessed no instances of edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to mar the proceedings.

To the surprise of no one, Anna went with teal and especially orange. Tedious as those choices may seem, the image reproduced the colors as intended.

Blacks seemed dense and deep, while shadows offered appropriate smoothness and clarity. The Blu-ray reproduced the film well.

Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the film’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack added oomph to the proceedings, as the soundscape opened up matters in a positive manner. Music offered nice breadth and filled the channels in a consistent manner.

With a mix of lively scenes, the soundfield offered a lot of chances for fireworks, and it used them well. All the usual action components popped up and created an involving impression.

Audio quality appeared good, with speech that came across as natural and distinctive. Effects also seemed accurate and tight, with clear reproduction of these components.

Music worked well, as the songs/score boasted solid range and dimensionality. This became a more than satisfactory track for the film.

Four featurettes appear here, and Dressing a Doll runs eight minutes, six seconds. It brings comments from writer/director Luc Besson, costume designer Olivier Beriot, and actor Sasha Luss.

As expected, “Doll” looks at the movie’s costumes. Too much happy talk results, but we still get some decent details.

With Anatomy of a Scene, we get a six-minute, 41-second reel that offers notes from Besson and Luss. We get a discussion of one particular action sequence in this moderately informative clip.

Unnesting a Russian Doll spans 13 minutes, 57 seconds and brings remarks from Luss, Besson, production designer Hugues Tissandier, and actors Helen Mirren and Luke Evans.

“Unnesting” offers a general “making of” program, with a look at story/characters, cast and performances, sets, locations and period details. Like the other segments, it mixes puffy content with decent insights, but don’t expect anything substantial.

Finally, Constructing the Car Chase fills five minutes, 40 seconds with info from Besson, Luss and stunt coordinator David Julienne.

Like the title indicates, this one examines elements of a specific scene, with an emphasis on stunts. It provides another acceptable overview.

The disc opens with ads for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Rambo: Last Blood, Angel Has Fallen, John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum and Hellboy (2019). No trailer for Anna appears here.

Despite prior success via similar subject matter, Luc Besson can’t do much with Anna. Let down by a bland performance from its lead and a dull narrative, the film never turns into anything thrilling. The Blu-ray brings very good picture and audio along with a smattering of bonus features. Anna fails to ignite.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main