The 355 began life as a conversation between star Jessica Chastain and director Simon Kinberg during their time filming Dark Phoenix: What if the two of them started an action franchise in the vein of Mission: Impossible but featuring an all-star cast of women instead of the usual middle-aged white men? Not a bad idea, but of course good ideas are a dime a dozen in Hollywood, and in the end all that really matters is whether the two-hour adventure film sells tickets and generates buzz.

Originally due out in January 2021, Universal bumped the film back a year due to COVID-19 concerns. Unfortunately, we’re in the midst of another surge, but there’s no turning back: The 355 opens Friday, and the question most audiences are probably asking now is whether or not it’s worth heading out to a theatre to see. The good news is that empty screenings probably won’t be hard to find. The bad news is that Kinberg’s film, for its good intentions, is nothing more than well-cast January fluff, an immediately forgettable sort of picture where the best you can say is that at least the cast seemed to enjoy making it.

Chastain is Mace, a CIA officer dedicated to her duty. Her only friend is Nick (Sebastian Stan), a fellow agent with whom she shares a conflicting flirtation. The two are sent on a mission to Paris to retrieve a device that could potentially start World War III. Things quickly go south and Nick ends up MIA, so Mace teams up with some fellow women spies to hunt their digital McGuffin.

Each of the women is from a different company and brings to the crew her own speciality. Khadijah (Lupita Nyong’o) is a computer-whiz ex-MI6 agent from Britain. Marie (Diane Kruger) is a German BND Agent. Graciela (Penélope Cruz) is a Colombian psychologist. Finally, Lin Mi Sheng (Fan Bingbing) is a Chinese MSS agent with conflicting motives. Kruger is really the standout here, perhaps because she’s played this type of role before, but really all of the women take to playing their parts well. Like I said: It’s the kind of movie that was probably more fun to make than it is to watch.

The problem is that The 355 brings nothing new to one of cinema’s cornerstone pulp genres besides its lead cast. If that’s the only selling point for an audience, no problem, but those looking for more will be sorely disappointed. Kinberg shoots the film in the faux-handheld stylings of the 20-year-old Bourne series, which has been shamelessly ripped off so much over the past two decades that it’s downright shocking when a spy film take a different tack. The Mission: Impossible series offers more than just cool stunts (which The 355 lacks anyway) and suave heroics; director Christopher McQuarrie has defined that series with a gorgeous visual style that complements the action. Do those stories ever make sense, either? Not necessarily, but it doesn’t matter when an action film has forward momentum and visually demands an audience’s attention. There’s none of that here, nothing on which to latch.

At one point, Mace complains about the 30 years after the Cold War and how at least back then we knew who the enemies were. Chastain is 44 years old, so I guess she was a spy at age 14. Fine. I’m not really nitpicking that. What grates about that speech is that it’s not a particularly original sentiment, especially behind the camera. These types of films, defined by James Bond, have spent decades in the wilderness trying to find enemies for their protagonists to fight. It always comes down to super-villain style threats, corruption within the system or weird technology. That last option is the most annoying, and unfortunately, The 355 is just another movie about a group of spies trying to retrieve an errant hard drive that could magically destroy everything if captured by the wrong people. Yes: this is the same basic plot as the last five Fast & Furious movies but without the novel action or touching ruminations on the nature of family.

Look, The 355 isn’t the worst film I’ve ever seen. It’s not even bad in novel ways. The characters are all pretty standard fare for this type of thing, playing lightly off their national stereotypes (yes, Lin Mi Sheng knows martial arts). Co-writer Theresa Rebeck tries unsuccessfully to blend generic spy dialogue with girl-gang repartee. But there’s no reason to act like it stands for something bad or naïve, or like it plays worse than the usual lousy version of this story we see at least twice a year. At its core, The 355 is a pretty bland action movie that runs over old tropes with the marketable bonus of an all-star cast of women going through the motions. Before COVID-19, this would’ve felt like a January staple — a studio film without much chance of building word of mouth, thrown into a box-office black hole. It owes a lot to its predecessors and, in a weird way, it’s at least comforting just to see something new and forgettable as the worst month of the year kicks off.