Red Sparrow, the Russian version of La Femme Nikita, made in USA

Hollywood tend to equate slow, lumbering spy movies with thought provoking thriller. Unfortunately, unless the story line is uniquely original and stimulating, slow movies just bored viewers and put them to sleep. Besides, do we really need another version of the story that has been similarly told in many other incarnations in movies and on tv series?
J Law is an amazing actress who is very committed to her craft. That Oscar she earned is no fluke. She She shouldn’t be in movies like Passengers , which was a disappointment. The kind of movie with promising concept that lost its steam half way through.
Red Sparrow though, has good acting throughout the movie and J Law has very strong supporting casts that help anchor the movie. But the punishingly slow, lumbering pace does not help and the training scene, like a savage version of La Femme Nikita’s training sequence, gave me a sense of deja vu.
The twist also feel predictable and very setup somehow. The cold, arctic atmosphere of the movie was flawless and a first rate visual feast. However, as someone who has been visiting Budapest as often as I had, the location really take me out of the illusion of a movie that was suppose to take place mostly in Russia. I recognized places that were stand-in for Russian locale which are actually popular tourist spots in Budapest, Hungary. I am referring to the bar where J Law’s character, pre-recruitment, meet her first victim, and some other spots featured prominently throughout the film.
To sum up, the production design of this movie and the acting were top notch, the pace and story line, however…, not so much.
I guess Marvel has to re-think about making a Black Widow stand alone movie starring Scarlett Johansson, now that Red Sparrow had jumped the gun by coming out of the gate with a similar story line first.