Assassins (1995)

Okay, two things first:

  • If Sylvester Stallone is in a movie, I’m going to watch it. I know, I know! He hasn’t made a half-way decent movie since 1997’s Cop Land, but I cannot resist. I think I hope that with each new movie he makes he’ll re-capture the brilliance of a tortured John Rambo, or the pathos of Rocky Balboa. Look, I know this is impossible, and yet, I dream.
  • It wasn’t until half-way through the, MY GOD 132 MINUTES, of Assassins that I realized I wasn’t watching The Specialist. Where’s Sharon Stone? Oh.

From the long and protracted opening scene we come to understand that Stallone’s character (Robert Rath) is an assassin who is experiencing some major job burnout. Hard to believe, but there it is—an assassin with ennui. This is expressed by Rath’s penchant for talking to himself and his vast collection of sweater vests. I get it, Stallone is not the best at facial expressions, but a running monologue of the character’s inner-most thoughts is not the most clever way to tell a story.

Fun trivia fact: the Wachowski siblings tried to have their writing credits removed from this movie.

It also doesn’t make for a timeless classic. Well, that and the really old computers. Rath communicates with his contractor via Mac PowerBook and some kind of magical internet.

1995 was 20 years ago. Let that sink in.

Rath is also a really good one-handed typist. Super fast, super type-y. Funnily enough, Antonio Banderas‘ character has the same, super fast, one-handed speedy typing. There’s a lot of keyboard clacking in this movie.

Banderas plays rival assassin, Miguel Bain, who introduces himself to Rath by poaching his “mark”. It’s another long and protracted scene with a car chase thrown in and is mostly notable for Banderas’ duck face throughout.

I was first introduced to Antonio Banderas in Pedro Almodóvar‘s film Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! (I had satellite cable growing up, with access to HBO, Cinemax, and Nickelodeon. I watched everything.) I liked the young, intense, and wacky Banderas. When he made his move to Hollywood his star dulled a little for me—he went from acting in provocative and challenging movies to acting in movies with little character development and a whole lot of schlockiness. The Mask of Zorro?

Yeah, I know, I’m bagging on Banderas while giving Stallone a huge pass on the schlocky. I can only say that I expect more from the better actor.

I would recap the rest of the plot if I thought it was worth the clacky typing.  The only thing left worth saying is that I’m glad Julianne Moore kept making movies because she definitely improves with age. Unlike Assassins.

I watched this movie so you don’t have to.


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