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Code Name Banshee Review: A Confounding Girl Power Actioner

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Jaime King unleashes a fusillade of bullets in a confounding, girl power actioner. Code Name Banshee has a former CIA assassin, her mentor, and his daughter ducking an acerbic old adversary with a legion of goons. The villain spends the film calling for cannon fodder reinforcements like ordering a pizza. Code Name Banshee plays fast and loose with timelines that make little sense. It also uses bizarre flashback cinematography that looks awful. The blood-splattering gunplay offers minor thrills. Violence abounds throughout as the female protagonists shred baddies.

We first meet Banshee (King) at a contentious CIA interrogation. Her father and his partner, Caleb (Antonio Banderas), both elite operatives, have been branded traitors after a botched mission. Banshee’s father is assumed dead, but his body was never recovered. Caleb has vanished. The government puts a $10 million dollar bounty on his head. Banshee refuses to believe the agency’s account.

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Three years later, Banshee has become a contract killer. She uses a hacker called Kronos (Aleksander Vayshelboym) to facilitate her bloody business. Banshee pursues a target in an office building but gets an unwelcome surprise. A former colleague, Anthony Greene (Tommy Flanagan), lies in wait. He’s got a score to settle with Caleb. Greene knows Caleb trained Banshee. A bullet ridden escape has Banshee revisiting old memories. What really happened to her father? She needs to find Caleb before Greene and uncover the truth.

Code Name Banshee muddies the plot by not clearly stating when events took place. Dialogue between the characters reveal that Caleb has been hiding for five years. The time card after Banshee’s briefing says three years. Maybe I missed something, but this threw me off from the beginning. It’s hilarious that Caleb has successfully eluded the CIA and an army of enemies, then Banshee figures out his location in seconds from a past conversation. Inconsistencies in the script are painfully obvious and plague the narrative.

The film introduces another character that’s nearly as lethal as Banshee. Caleb has a teenage daughter, Hailey (Catherine Davis), that apparently sprung from the womb with a sniper rifle. She has no knowledge of Caleb’s espionage life, but has been instructed in the art of butt-kicking like his old protégé. Hailey and Banshee wrack up a body count that could fill a morgue. Their fighting scenes together are the best part of the film.

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Scottish actor Tommy Flanagan steals the show as Anthony Greene. He’s the only character with any personality. Everyone else is subdued and dull. Flanagan chews up the screen berating lackeys with his thick accent. I laughed as he curses his henchmen’s ineptitude for dying so easily, then gets seemingly endless refills from the bad guy store. Banshee would have run out ammo if he’d sent everyone at once.

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