By Christopher Null
Okay, I admit it. I was expecting something horrible like Judge Dredd when I sat down for Assassins. Instead, imagine my surprise to find a nicely-crafted action thriller that does not feature Sylvester Stallone making a bunch of "witty" remarks.
Assassins is essentially an updating of a well-established story line. Robert Rath (Stallone) is the best in the world at what he does--killing people for money. But he's getting tired of it all and wants out of the business. Unfortunately, you can't just give two weeks notice to your faceless hit contractor; it's a bit more difficult than that. So it's understandable that Rath barely flinches when he finds out Miguel Bain (Antonio Banderas), the #2 assassin, is after him.
When you throw into the mix the world's best actress (Julianne Moore) as Electra, a surveillance expert and electronic thief, all hell breaks loose. Electra is his latest "mark," and, fed up with everything, Rath elects not to kill her, as he was charged to do. Instead they team together against a new, common enemy: Bain, who Banderas brings to life with a soul of pure evil.
Assassins starts out a little slow in setting up this tricky web, but it pays off the first time Bain and Rath meet. Thereafter, each meeting grows progressively more intense--and more violent--as the two square off like fighting lions. These action sequences are some of the best of the year, and together with Moore's turn as the enigmatic Electra, Assassins develops into a great entry for its genre.
Yes, there are some cheap "dog-barks-suddenly" surprises, a few sappy and overdramatic moments, and the story is just on the other side of impossibility, but what the hell, it's an action movie, right? That it is, and it's a pretty good one to boot.
Facts and Figures
In Theaters: Friday 6th October 1995
Distributed by: Warner Home Video
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 16%
Fresh: 7 Rotten: 38
Cast & Crew
Also starring: Sylvester Stallone, Antonio Banderas, Julianne Moore, Richard Donner, Joel Silver, Bruce Evans, Raynold Gideon, Andrew Lazar, Jim Van Wyck, Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski, Brian Helgeland