"Kill. Or Be Killed." This is Ava. This action thriller film directed by Tate Taylor and written by Matthew Newton. Ava is a deadly assassin who works for a black ops organization, traveling the globe specializing in high profile hits. When a job goes dangerously wrong she is forced to fight for her own survival.
In August 2018, it was reported that Taylor had been hired to direct the film Eve, replacing Matthew Newton. By late September 2018, Jessica Chastain had been cast in the lead. John Malkovich, Common, Geena Davis, Colin Farrell, Ioan Gruffudd and Joan Chen rounded out the cast. At the same time, principal photography commenced and wrapped in late October. Filming took place in Boston, Massachusetts. During shooting, Ava's name was Eve. For unknown reasons, the studio decided to change the main character's name after the film wrapped. This then affected the title when the film was retitled to Ava in November 2019. Since all scenes were filmed prior to this decision, this presumably required cast to do additional audio or shooting.
The film stars Chastain, Malkovich, Common, Davis, Farrell, Gruffudd and Chen. The film isn't a total disaster thanks to the cast led by Chastain, but even they can't turn this film into something watchable. It benefits from Chastain in the lead. She is just riveting and when she finally gears up for action the film steps into high gear and delivers grueling action and a surprise punch at the end.
It is a cliched, sloppy mess of sub-standard action and forgettable lines that might entertain someone who has never seen a movie from the last decade of R-rated action cinema. As just about every element of the film ranges from underwhelming to bad, I would be hard-pressed to recommend the film to anyone other than hardcore fans of Chastain, and even then, there are countless better action films. It is nearly two hours of sensory overload that attempts to be a slick and gritty thriller but comes off as a brash, cluttered and crude film. Two-dimensional characters, questionable casting choices and a lacklustre script means that the hour-and-a-half runtime slogged from start to finish rather than feeling like an adrenaline-induced, blood-filled dream that it could have been. Every second grates and confuses in equal measure, with nary a thrill of inventive, exciting action filmmaking to break up the monotony. It could probably have successfully built on its clichéd plot if the execution was great, but too few of the scenes hit the level of imagination or wit needed. It appears the target audience for this film are overly horny teenage boys who want to see a sexy female assassin and violence with little to no real plot. It is painful to watch, and not just in the many scenes of violence that it revels in. Its disrespect for the audience can only be rivalled by its disrespect for women. It is a juvenile, pedestrian, and boring film that tries to imitate Atomic Blonde and ends up as a terrible imitation that everyone involved should be embarrassed about.