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    Movie Review: Meet the World's Most Endearing Teenage Assassin in Hanna

    Hanna, Saoirse Ronan Focus Features

    Review in a Hurry: Run, Hanna, run! The titular teenager (Saoirse Ronan), raised in the wild and trained as a killer, sprints across Morocco after an assassination mission. Often pulse-pounding and occasionally preposterous, this slick thriller features inventive action sequences and terrific actors who offset more over-the-top moments.

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    The Bigger Picture: Director Joe Wright reteams with his Atonement actress for, well, something completely different. Both establish their actioner cred in deftly the crafted Hanna, which weaves elements of dark fairy tales with international adventure and kickass smackdowns. If only Ronan had dispatched Atonement's Nazis as easily as she takes out special agents here.

    Hanna and her sisters? Nope, it's just Hanna and her widowed dad Erik (Eric Bana), holed up in the snowy forests of Finland. There the ex-CIA op builds the perfect soldier, teaching his daughter martial arts and multiple languages.

    At 16, Hanna enters an unfamiliar world to fulfill her destiny: to assassinate Marissa Wiegler (wicked-cold Cate Blanchett), a ruthless intelligence agent with a dark connection to Erik's family. Plans go awry when Hanna gets detained in the Moroccan desert, but she turns the tables and escapes.

    On her journey to meet Erik in Berlin, she enjoys her first experiences with boys and BFFs but also faces disturbing revelations about her existence. Meanwhile, Marissa summons her flying monkeys, er, evil henchmen and ultimately joins the deadly pursuit herself.

    A trained killer suffering an identity crisis? Not the freshest idea in the genre (at least she doesn't have amnesia), and your eyes might roll at certain plot points and dialogue. But roll with it, and your eyes and ears will be dazzled by expertly choreographed action punctuated with the Chemical Brothers' driving techno beats.

    As in Atonement, Wright makes impressive use of widescreen and long tracking shots, though again, he can be showy to the point of distraction. The splashes of Blue Velvet-like surrealism also teeter on indulgence. But the steel-solid focus and conviction of his talented cast help keep Hanna on target, making it worth putting in your crosshairs.

    The 180—a Second Opinion: Some audiences might be uncomfortable with an adolescent assassin skilled at shooting, stabbing and snapping necks. Yowch.

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