Assassins

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Robert Rath (Sylvester Stallone) is a paid assassin who wants nothing more than to get out of ‘the business’, haunted by the memory of murdering his own mentor Nicolai years ago. Rath is a quiet, morose professional who is on an assignment to kill someone when someone else gets to the ‘mark’ (the target) before he does. That person turns out to be Miguel Bain (Antonio Banderas), a fellow assassin and a competitive sociopath.

Rath then has the trouble of trying to figure out who sent Bain, the contractor offers him one last job that could financially allow him to retire: killing the four Dutch buyers and the computer hacker named Electra (Julianne Moore) and retrieve a disk that contains sensitive information. Electra has set up cameras in all the rooms of the apartment block where she lives and watches them like watching television.

Bain is assigned to kill Electra as well. Bain kills the four Dutch buyers who turn out to be Interpol agents and Rath comes to kill Electra but for the first time has a change of heart. His pay for the job is given to him in a briefcase in exchange for the disk. The briefcase actually contains a bomb placed by his own contractor in an attempt to kill him. Luckily Electra had swapped the disk, not sure if Rath was coming back or not.

The contractor takes the chance and hires Bain to terminate him; now having become a target along with Electra he must try and extract enough money out of his contractor so he can disappear for good, while avoiding the bloodthirsty Bain. Rath’s contractor turns out to be none other than Nicolai himself who also hired Bain to track down Electra and the disk.

REVIEW:

A film that has been floating on my curiosity radar has been Assassins. Why, you may ask? Well, first off, I am a huge fan of the Assassins Creed series, and I believe about the time I was getting into the games was when I was made aware of this picture. Second, I’m just curios as to why this is not a bigger film. No one I know that has seen it has said it was bad. Let’s dive into this mystery ourselves, shall we?

What is this about?

Veteran hit man Robert Rath is looking to get out of the business when he meets young, eager competitor Miguel Bain, who has Rath at the top of his “to do” list. Rath takes one last job, but complications ensue when he falls in love with his mark.

What did I like?

Loco. Over the last few years, I have developed a new respect for Antonio Banderas. As he has ages, he is no longer the “latin ass from heaven”, or whatever it is that ladies called him back in the day, but a versatile actor. How else do you explain being able to be the voice of an animated cat in Puss in Boots and then a hyper active, parkour ex-soldier in The Expendables 3. I wager he can still do the dramatic roles, too. Now, in this film he is a crazy, bloodthirsty young assassin who wants to be the best, and will stop at nothing to get that “title”. His unstable temperament worked for this character, especially in adversarial¬†contrast to Stallone’s stoicness. Why hasn’t Banderas been a villain more often? He does it so well!

Twist. So many movies have twist endings, but not many of them come out of nowhere. The twist in this film was something I wasn’t expecting, and for that this film gets major kudos. The audience never sees it coming! I wonder, though, since this film was made in 1995, if the pre-internet/cellphone age played a part in keeping it a secret.

Pacing. Many of the reviews I’ve read have brought up that this is slow and boring. Here’s the thing, this is a film about assassins. Assassins are hired killers who take their time and wait for the perfect time to go for the kill. There is a mirroring image of sorts between that and the pacing of the film. It waits until the right time, and then picks up. Not every Stallone film is going to be non-stop action, I’m sorry!

What didn’t I like?

Less is Moore. I love Julianne Moore! She is a highly talented actress and doesn’t look half bad. We get a younger version of her in this film, and she is a bit of an annoyance. It is obvious that she is in here to fit the typical eye candy role, but they also have her as the tech geek and damsel in distress. Speaking of which, was it really necessary for her to fall for Stallone? That seemed to be too convenient!

Tone. I don’t want to say that this is a light film, but it does feel a bit…happy, for the subject matter. Maybe it is just the era, but when I think of a couple of assassins going head to head, I imagine a darker film. That sounds so weird coming from me, as I am not a fan of dark films most of the time but in this case, I think it would have worked better than what we get.

Other assassins. In Afro Samurai, there is one person that has the #1 headband. The only person with the right to challenge him wears the #2 headband. Everybody and their dead grandma comes after the #2 for that headband. I mention all this, because it seems weird to me that there are only two assassins. Where are the others? Surely, someone else would want the chance to take out Stallone, right?

Final verdict on Assassins? This is a film that takes its plot a little lighter than I would like for it to have done. That being said, I enjoyed Stallone and Banderas’ performances and chemistry. I now understand why his character was the way he was in the last Expendables. I feel this film could have done with some touch ups to the script because I was bored with most of it, especially the first half. All that said, do I recommend it? No, but I see no reason to avoid this film, either.

3 out of 5 stars

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