CITADEL (2023) – All action, and plot heavy but minus the zest


Rating: ⭐⭐

I finally finished watching the 8 episodes of this spy thriller. I did find myself struggling a bit to binge watch this. Despite its ambitious James Bond-ish plot, attractive leads, glamorous international locales, and elaborate action sequences, there was still something missing that is just not making me look forward to see what happens next. I think for me, the main problem is that none of the characters are interesting or likeable. They are all bloody liars, and cold-blooded killers! There is also not much chemistry or sparks between our two leads played by Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden and Priyanka Chopra Jonas.

This is the first time I am seeing Priyanka Chopra Jonas, the Indian actress and wife of pop star Nick Jonas, act and she comes across with a very strong screen presence. However, her role here as super agent Nadia Sinh is too dispassionate and cold. As I said nobody here is likeable. There is also not one really defined villain although Lesley Manville’s as the positively evil US Ambassador Dahlia Archer came closest to portraying a character that took hold of our attention. The constant jumping between different timelines is annoying and felt like plot devices to plant the many plot twists along the way.

What did impress me about the series is on some of the scope of the action and fight sequences which can rival that of what we see in the movies. The opening episodes, elaborate train sequence set the scale up. A subsequent sequence involving a ski chase was also impressive and reminiscent of what we see in the James Bond series. These early action sequences probably did a disservice to the series by heightening our expectations unrealistically.

Despite its obvious ambition to start launch yet another action franchise series, Citadel came off quite forgettable and I for one, will not be lamenting should this not happen. Film makers are getting lazy these days and rely too much on rehashing old ideas instead of coming up with something that is truly original.

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