With assassins, time travel and double-crosses galore, Serena and the Ratts keeps you on your toes. Serena (Evalena Marie) and her boyfriend Leonard (Dave Neal) are hired by the Boss (Jonathan Thomson) to disrupt the plot of some scientists who have discovered time travel and plan to go back in time to kill Hitler. Killing Hitler doesn’t seem like a bad idea, but you know time travel and paradoxes and all that “can’t change history” yada yada yada, so Serena is conflicted but, ultimately, has a job to do and plans to do it. Except nothing is that simple, especially when the people you’re trying to stop are seemingly familiar and capable enough with time travel to go back and fix whatever you do to trip them up (or at least make you think they did), making for some complicated contract killing.
The film plays with the narrative a bit, presenting us bits and pieces of the various characters’ histories out of chronological order. You could call it derivative, and the film definitely has a Luc Besson-friendly heroine in a story laced with some Kill Bill-itness, but it seems like an obvious move considering the film is dealing with the concept of time travel; why would you have a straightforward narrative? That said, I was far more interested in the mind-twisting of the time travel elements than I was with fleshing out some back story.
Of course, if you just stuck with the time travel stuff and didn’t address the characters, you’d just have a bunch of typecast action-thriller friendlies but… the back story isn’t all that unique either. We’ve seen the older mentor training the wayward woman to become an assassin before, and while the Boss gets some fleshing out to his tale, no one else really benefits all that much. But that’s by design; Serena may be the main focus on the poster, but the Boss winds up being the story.
Serena and the Ratts looks good, has some solid action and gives a plot with some fun, mind-twisting elements. It’s not always the most original film, and the acting can sometime float into the realm of “wooden,” but it doesn’t take away too much. It would’ve been easy to go full bore derivative with this film, so kudos to filmmaker Kevin James Barry for giving us some familiar action while trying to get us to think a little bit too.
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