Friday, December 31, 2010

Day 02 - Most underrated film

I'm going to go with Assassins (1995).  It's probably not the most underrated film ever, but it's one I like that a lot of people dismiss as lame.  Unlike many of Sly's mid-90s movies, it's not particularly cheesy or clunky -- instead, it's a slick, character-driven action movie.  It's no Bourne Identity, true, but it's fun in a non-deep way.

Robert Rath (Sylvester Stallone)
Assassins stars Sylvester Stallone, Julianne Moore, and Antonio Banderas.  I'm fond of all three of those actors, so the cast alone pretty well ensures I'd enjoy the movie.  Throw in some guns, a hint of romance, and some nice cat-and-mouse action, and I'm hooked.  The plot revolves around Robert Rath (Stallone), the best assassin-for-hire in the business.  Another assassin, Miguel Bain (Banderas), wants to take down Rath and assume his spot at the top of the list.  He's trying to kill Electra (Moore), a prettier-than-most computer geek who does freelance surveillance work and loves her cat.  Rath stops Bain from killing Electra, and the two of them go on the run as he tries to figure out how to take down Bain.

Electra (Julianne Moore)
Sure, the character names are dorky.  Sure, it's a little hard to worry that Stallone could ever be bested at anything, even by the scenery-chewing Banderas.  Assassins is a fun ride -- you can see all three stars are enjoying themselves, and it's hard not to enjoy things right along with them.

Miguel Bain (Antonio Banderas)
I think what I like best about this movie is how it manages to dodge so many cliches.  Bain and Rath spar with words and wits, not fists.  Rath is a nice assassin... to a point.  Electra creepily keeps tabs on all the other people in her apartment building... and takes a motherly interest in their mundane lives.  Bain isn't just a kooky guy trying to take down the top dog... he's actually good at being an assassin, arguably as good as Rath.  And Rath and Electra don't end up in bed together -- in fact, one of my favorite scenes involves the two of them sharing a hotel room; Rath gallantly goes to sleep on the floor without a fuss. 

So, while Assassins isn't cinematic genius, it's also not a clunker.  Anyway, I enjoy it.

Happy New Year!


  1. Saw this in the cinema when it came out. No masterpiece by any means as you say, but, it passed the time well enough. Nice call.



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