The Citadel: High-octane action with a female lead
Finally, a female Asian hero to give Gal Gadot a run for her money? Priyanka Chopra Jonas does some heavy lifting in the eagerly awaited 'The Citadel'
Rating: *** ½
Finally, a female Asian hero to give Gal Gadot a run for her money? Priyanka Chopra Jonas does some heavy lifting in the eagerly awaited The Citadel. The six-episode Bourne-like thriller flaunts sinewy action sequences in what seems to be the core of the conflict.
The larger suspense for audiences: The question of which came first—the idea of an action suspense thriller blending the bustling immediacy of Robert Ludlum with the here-today-gone-tomorrow sheepish espionage from the James Bond series? Or the plot, which is heavy with intrigue, some of it unnecessary?
A lingering look at the first two episodes reveals a show that is high on thrills, but a tad too self-important.
I wish the characters were not so self-absorbed. Both Mason Kane (Madden) and Nadia (Chopra Jonas) seem more in love with themselves than with the idea of saving the world from a rogue organisation named Manticore. The two have a past history that has been erased from their individual memories. But we know what they don’t: They had the hots for one another; the embers are still burning.
There is a burgeoning sense of unfulfilled passion in the plot that sucks you into its vortex and tells you to find your way out on your own. It is a complex plot filled with double-crossing characters who barely seem to know why they are on the run. Everyone is running from someone or from some organisation, if not from oneself.
It is impossible to talk about the plot without giving it away. There is a marked fatalism in the way the plot moves ahead, while deep-diving into the past for answers to Nadia and Mason’s sinister present and blanked-out past. Chopra Jonas and Madden play their amnesiac spys' roles with a blend of mystery and passion. Neither is expected to deliver a great performance. They aren’t even trying. Just making the right action moves gives them a collective charm and chops.
There are better actors than the principal performers in The Citadel. Lesley Manville, so sweet-natured in Mrs Harris Goes to Paris, is a bundle of evil as a scheming politician who will stop at nothing (and by 'nothing', I do mean nothing). The ever-reliable Stanley Tucci as the former Citadel supervisor gets his teeth removed during an elaborate torture sequence. And yet Tucci’s performance has a lot of bite.
Ditto the series. The Citadel begins with a brilliantly staged action sequence on a speeding train. There is kidnapping, torture and character swerves that could leave the viewers breathless. And we’ve only just begun.
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