Close ★★

Vicky Jewson’s “Close” transparently aspires to be something of a female riff on Jason Bourne. However, shot in only 29 days — and with a fraction of the budget for an average Hollywood blockbuster — it feels more like a proof-of-concept for an idea that the film industry has already proven (e.g. “Salt,” Tomb Raider,” “Haywire,” etc), and a dull reminder that studios need to invest more of their resources into it. Whatever inherent value there might be in gender-flipping such a generic template is mitigated by the movie’s reluctance to seize on the unique energy that its women bring to the table.

The film doesn’t have to justify casting a lead who isn’t named Chris or Matt, but Jewson and co-writer Rupert Whitaker (whose previous collaborations include 2014’s similarly violent “Born of War”) may have been too rushed to take advantage of it. If nothing else, this cut-rate thriller should be enough to silence anyone who still doubts that Noomi Rapace deserves her own bonafide action franchise, as the film revels in the strong-jawed Swede’s rare ability to alchemize Lisbeth Salander’s hardness with Jason Statham’s appetite for destruction. If only the character she plays were even half as exciting as how she plays it.

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