‘AKA’ (2023) Review: Netflix’s Film Is Packed With Meaningless Action But Takes Itself Too Seriously

Action films with no content whatsoever are buzzkills. With nothing going for them from the start, just endless action scenes make the film awkward and even just plain boring. There must be more than just the action scenes that the film or TV show offers in this genre. AKA, a French Netflix original, falls into this category for being a decidedly uninteresting action film. Directed by Morgan S. Dalibert, it is all about an ex-military man hired to infiltrate a crime syndicate, but will he get attached to people he is not supposed to?

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AKA starts with a special OPS agent sent to Libya to rescue Sonia Gautier, a high-profile French journalist, and she is rescued in no time thanks to this gentleman’s great combat skills. But the issue with this entire sequence is that it is executed lazily. This is supposed to set the mood for the movie for the next two hours, but it does nothing to excite the viewers. The man turns out to be Adam Franco, who is hired by the French intelligence to infiltrate a French crime syndicate run by Victor, the main guy known for sheltering a South Sudanese warlord who is now an ISIS supporter. Adam Franco’s job is to get close to Victor and get exact information about this warlord who is supposedly behind a terrorist attack in the French capital, and the man seems to be hiding in the country, planning another terrorist attack. Victor is the one who is funding his stay in the country and the intelligence to crack that wide open for them to be able to arrest the warlord. Adam Franco’s ruthless background in combat is the only way to get to him. The man joins the security team to protect Victor’s kids, and slowly he tries to understand the entire ring and starts placing bugs in Victor’s home just to get as much information as possible to his people.

All this sounds preposterous when it comes to dealing with a situation where a man like Victor is claimed to be dangerous, but Adam Franco joins the gang without any thorough background check. It sounds like a bit much, and for a rookie to be assigned a job this close to the main boss is also not possible at this stage of so-called information gathering. There is nothing much given on how Adam gets to know more about the warlord because the screenplay just leaves it for the audience to assume stuff halfway through. I hate to break the news to the makers, but this is not how it is to be done. The audiences don’t want to be spoon-fed, but they also don’t want to be left hanging looking for answers amidst the so-called high-octane action film. There is no revelation of when and how Adam himself became a suspect or what kind of leak happened to whom. These are the basic plot points that could have been covered by the writer-actor of this film, Alban Lenoir. But the focus is so much on all things that the screenplay comes across as something that is scattered. It is just all over the place to understand what is happening after a point.

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Adam is going after the warlord, but quickly and shortly, he is also rescuing his boss’ children to show the audience a version of himself who is soft and kind-hearted as the kids have nothing to do with the syndicate. This nature of his comes in handy even at the end of the film, but by that time, the film becomes so random and bizarre that his act of generosity does not add any extra brownie points to the screenplay. The screenplay by Alban Lenoir couldn’t have been more haphazard because it is not sure what the writer wants to convey here by jumping from one scene to another without making any sense to the audience. The story, too, becomes too erratic because it feels like the writer wanted to bring in everything from every action movie ever. A man who is ruthless enough to get into the crime syndicate, a man with a soft corner for children, a man who himself has lost his child, and in the end, shows a different side of himself when his cover is blown.

The film could have been so much better if the makers had spent time making the screenplay a coherent venture, even though the story was still not a saving grace for the film. The only saving grace for Netflix’s AKA is the placement of the action scenes and how they are shot. Two action scenes stand out for good reasons. One that takes place through CCTV footage is a brawl between Adam and other miscreants who try to enter Victor’s club, and there is another action sequence placed inside a brothel where Victor’s son has been kept hostage. A man is listening to music at a high volume, but in the background, there is a full-blown fight going on between Adam and one of the kidnappers. These two scenes stand out for all the right reasons because, for the time being, it feels like the makers did it right, and hopefully, there will be more action scenes that somehow salvage the film and make it interesting. If not for the story, the audience could at least rely on being entertained by some fun action sequences. But the joy ends there.

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There is nothing else that could salvage AKA in any form. Even the performances of all the actors in the film seem like they are just enunciating the words, as there are no emotions that can be seen or heard. The actors seem to be sleepwalking through most of the film. AKA is unable to sell itself in any department. The direction also suffers because of the jumpy screenplay. The film, for all the drama that it contains, has nothing going for it because an action film should have strong action sequences going on as its selling point or a gripping screenplay to keep the audience engaged. With AKA lacking in both departments, this film is a big no.


Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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There is nothing else that could salvage AKA in any form. Even the performances of all the actors in the film seem like they are just enunciating the words, as there are no emotions that can be seen or heard'AKA' (2023) Review: Netflix's Film Is Packed With Meaningless Action But Takes Itself Too Seriously