Saturday, June 19, 2021

The Serpent Misfires

You can tell this film must have been sitting on the shelf for a while, because you can see Broadway posters for Spiderman: Turn off the Dark in some of external Manhattan shots. That show closed in early January, 2014. It is easy to understand why nobody was in a rush to release it. Writer-director-lead actress Gia Skova obviously intended it to be a star vehicle for herself, but nobody is effectively showcased in The Serpent, which is now available on VOD.

Lucinda Kavsky (codename: “Serpent”) is a CIA agent, on the run from the Agency, because she discovered the director is completely beholden to a mysterious terrorist mastermind. He even goes into the field, guns blazing, in pursuit of her. Not even a cowboy like Bill Casey would have done that. It turns out she uncovered a plan to implant nanotech explosives in four children that could very well be detonated soon.

The politics of
Serpent are probably deeply problematic, but it is hard to tell, because the first half-hour is so roughly helmed and edited, rendering the narrative nearly incomprehensible. Essentially, it seems like Kavsky spends the first half of the movie shooting at one faction of CIA agents and the second fighting another (or maybe they’re the same). Who wouldn’t enjoy watching a lot of dedicated American intelligence personnel getting shot? Russians, I guess.

Apparently, Skova, the former fashion model is following Alexander Nevsky’s example, trying to crack the American market with moderately Russia-boostering straight-to-VOD action movies. (Honestly, I don’t know what was the weirdest part of that last sentence.) At least
The Serpent skips the shticky humor of Maximum Impact.

Weirdly, her code-name suits the
Serpent. Admittedly, she has a striking look, but the piercing stare she displays would be better suited for villain than a heroic protagonist. Aside from her, only Nigel Vonas registers to any extent as her obnoxious but honest Agency rival, Pierce.

This film is just a mess. At times, it literally feels like it was cobbled together from scraps picked-up off the cutting-room floor. We will give a lot of latitude to action B-movies here, but
The Serpent is tough going even for us. Not recommended, The Serpent is now available on VOD platforms.