Professional hitman Robert Rath seeks to retire peacefully. However, he teams up with hacker Electra when Bain, another killer, wants to murder him.
I knew very limited things about Assassins going into it, just that it starred Sylvester Stallone and Antonio Banderas and it was directed by Richard Donner. Its not that great and I can see why it didn’t get the best of reviews, however I still think its fairly enjoyable.
Script-wise, Assassins is nothing special. I heard that the Wachowskis (post Bound and pre Matrix) wrote it but then it was completely re-written by Brian Helgeland. The plot starts out pretty simple but adds some more complexity over the course of the movie, however this resulted in the movie being a bit convoluted in parts. It has an unexpectedly serious and sombre tone and I think it could’ve afforded to be a little sillier or over the top. I liked the idea of the cat and mouse game between the two lead assassins played by Sylvester Stallone and Antonio Banderas, however the execution was just okay, and should’ve been much more considering that premise. Its also quite long at 132 minutes, and it probably could’ve afforded to be shorter than that. It doesn’t help that it takes a while for the movie to kick off. By the time Julianne Moore comes into the plot, I think Assassins really starts to pick up. The plot isn’t all that memorable and I wasn’t particularly invested, but I found it enjoyable to watch nonetheless.
I generally like Sylvester Stallone as an actor, however as the protagonist of Assassins, his work is rather underwhelming. I get that he’s acting solemn because he’s a hitman who is tired of his work and wants to retire, but he seems bored and half asleep most of the time. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad performance, but he’s easily the weakest link of the main trio of actors. Julianne Moore was quite good. She actually gets a chance to be involved in the plot, and isn’t just relegated to the love interest role. However, the main reason to watch this movie is Antonio Banderas, playing the rival assassin that Stallone goes up against. He is clearly having a ball here from beginning to end, and is an absolute joy to watch. He provides the energy that the movie really needed.
The movie is directed by Richard Donner, its not some of his best work, but it is solid nonetheless. With films like Lethal Weapon movies under his belt already, he more than knows how to helm an action movie, and Assassins is no exception. Its not the mot visually interesting of movies, but its still well shot. The action scenes aren’t special or memorable, yet they are decent and fun to watch, as to be expected.
Assassins is generally forgettable and held back by the sloppy and generic script, and the overlong runtime, but its fine for what it is. The action is well shot and enjoyable, and some of the performances are decent, with Antonio Banderas stealing the scenes he’s in. Despite its faults, Assassins is an entertaining enough thriller that’s worth checking out.