WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Anna, in theaters now.
This year has had some pretty epic cinematic fights so far. In the fictional realm, Chris Evans' Captain America going head-to-head with Thanos stands out from Avengers: Endgame as a truly epic one, but when it comes to street-level action, John Wick: Parabellum had quite a few brawls to choose from.
But while these did raise the bar pretty high, Luc Besson's Anna provides one particular melee which could give them all a run for their money courtesy of a five-star restaurant fight with our femme fatale showing Russian goons who's the boss.
This fight was seen as the centerpiece in Anna's trailers, but luckily, the footage cleverly hid the scope and brutality of it all. In the film, Sasha Luss' Anna enters a fancy dining establishment in Moscow to kill a mysterious warlord. It's part of her training by the KGB through mentor Olga (Helen Mirren) and her handler Alex (Luke Evans). Seeing as she's been brought into the game so late, Olga doubts Anna's capability in the field and decides an impromptu test will prove her mettle.
She's given the file on the spot with her target's picture, with Olga then offering up a silencer to put a bullet through the man's head. Obviously, Anna will have to fend off a couple thugs, but Olga believes it'll be easy work to then attain the man's phone for the KGB -- that is, once Anna's the agent Alex vouches she can be. To complicate things a bit, Anna has five minutes or the escape vehicle will abandon her, so she rushes in to shoot the man knowing Olga will hold true to her word. After calmly entering and locating her target, she approaches and pulls the trigger, but sadly, the weapon's not loaded. This is where the chaos begins.
Anna now has to improvise, made all the more worse as it's close to 30 thugs who were pretending to be normal patrons. They all rush her, however, they're struggling to get shots off in a crowded and panicked restaurant. But Anna shows why she's Russia's John Wick, by disarming several bodyguards, using their weapons against them and even using them as shields. It's a very bloody scene as she smartly aims for headshots -- something we know antagonists never do in these movies -- and as Anna cuts a bloody path to the man, she also utilizes several utensils such as knives.
Sadly, Anna's smacked around by some metal pipes but that doesn't deter her as she breaks the railing off the bar as her own equalizer and means of literally doing heavy-hitting. Luss does a great job with the fight choreography, coming off believably swift and lethal. Her slim frame makes her even lighter on her feet, so the combat feels all too real, culminating in Anna breaking some expensive dinner plates as a last resort. In a precarious position where she has no other cutlery, the assassin is a dead ringer for Mortal Kombat's Kitana in terms of fight style, using them as fans, slicing and dicing throats, jugulars and just about any blood vessel available to make your blood crawl with every quick cut.
In a one-shot, constant sequence similar to what we see in Netflix's famous hallway scenes in Daredevil, Anna delivers a merciless bloodbath. It ends with her stabbing her victim up gruesomely with a fork, but the massacre took too long. She's over by a minute and has to trek her way back in her crimson-soaked elite winter coat back to the KGB's headquarters.
There, she tries to admonish Olga for giving her an unloaded weapon, but the lesson is to always check your equipment. Olga tells her she should have ensured it had bullets and was working prior to taking the mission, and so, as mad as she is, Anna ends up appreciating the moral of the story in which dozens had to pay the price.
Directed by Luc Besson, Anna stars Sasha Luss, Helen Mirren, Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy, Lera Abova, Alexander Petrov and Eric Godon.