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  • Assassins is a top notch, big budget thriller that is often over looked when discussing Stallone's filmography. Which is a shame, cause it's one of Sly's better films and his performance as an aging burn out hit-man is quite solid.

    Antonio Banderas really steals the show though as the over the top and cocky newcomer who idolizes Stallone's character. Banderas is full of energy and his performance is electric. Miguel Bain is one of Banderas' best roles. An all time great movie villain perhaps.

    Many fans forget about Stallone's solid output in the 90's, Cliffhanger is always mentioned but Assassins seems to be forgotten. It's a slick and explosive action thriller from "Lethal Weapon" director Donner. Featuring some great dialog and shoot outs between Stallone and Banderas.

    On the negative side, the film is too long. Running over 2 hours, "Assassins" begins to wear out it's welcome. And the love story between Moore and Stallone is too cheesy and unrealistic to be taken seriously.

    Like "Daylight" and "Copland", "Assassins" is one of Stallone's most underrated films from the 90's. An over looked gem that deserves to be seen again.
  • This movie is action packed and definitely worth watching for any fan of action movies. I'm surprised at the low rating it's has so far on IMDb.

    Two of my favorite actors are in the movie, Sylvester Stalone and Antonio Banderas. I just found out the movie is written by the same people who did the Matrix and I can see how that is so. Any movie with Banderas is usually good, and this is no exception. :)

    If anyone likes sniper movies like Enemy at the Gates or Leon the Professional, this is definitely a movie worth checking out. You won't regret it.
  • When I firast watched this film,I enjoyed it thoroughly. Ironically enough in the advent of John Woo (his american popularity and his imitators) as well as Micheal Bay, Tony Scott, and Jerry Brukhiemer, it is rephreshing to see an action movie, a shoot-out action movie, where the emphasis is on efficiency and control rather than chaos. Unlike the John Woo pilosophy of keeping the guns firing non stop even if they hit nothing, Assassins works on the exact opposite theory of every shot has a purpose and a meaning and no shot is taken wildly even to distract (add on to the fact that in most John Woo movies, and especially Michael Bay movies, the guns are super loud, whereas in Assassins, pretty much every shot thats fired is silenced). I beleive there is only one instance in the film where shots are fired wildly wnd wrecklessly, and that is during the apartment scene where Antonio Banderas' character. Micheal Bein, shoots blindly through a wall at Slyvester Stallone's character, Robert Rath. Other than that, there is not really anytype of panic fire or wild bullet spraying (in fact I dont beleive this film even features automatic rifles of any kind). Strangely enough, this allows for events that move extremly quick: example, the first scene featuring the three title characters in the hotel. We see Antonio Banderas, in the blink of an eye alomst, take out 3 guards, walkinto the room they were guarding and then take out the 4 targets in that room in the same amount of time. In a way, it is very similar to the old Samurai films since their action scenes moved in a similar manner with nothingn then all of a sudden a few quick sword strikes and the conflict is over. That being said, this movie would require a certain type of taste in action movies or is a type of movie you have to be "in the mood" to watch.

    sidenote: When I first watched this film, I had no idea it featured the would be superstar Antonio Banderas, nor that it was written by the soon to be Matrix creators. In that sense it is almost a fun movie to watch because it kinda answers the question "what did they do before they were famous?" and now you know.
  • Die Hard-315 September 1998
    Sylvester Stallone and Antonio Banderas star in this great action-thriller. Sylvester Stallone plays Robert Rath, who is supposed to kill this guy at a funeral, but someone beats him to it. He tracks the man and has a nice little talk with him. The other man is another assassin, Miguel Bain (Antonio Banderas). Rath (who is the best assassin there is) gets another assignment worth two million dollars. Eliminate buyers and return girl and disk and he can retire. Bain wants to beat Rath and complete the task first. What follows is a battle between the two assassins. Sylvester Stallone looks sleepy, at one time they show a close-up of his eyes and Julianne Moore's eyes. You can see the difference so easily. Banderas is alive, which is good. The best performance is probably from Julianne Moore who is the girl they have to get the disk from. Special effects are good, as is the ending climax. Overall, it is thrilling, with a fair amount of action and violence.
  • Assassins is definately one of the better written action films I've seen, but then again, it was written by the Wachowski Brothers, who also wrote (and directed) the equally well done Matrix.

    This film was directed By Richard Donner, who also directed Lethal Weapon 1-4 and Superman, among other films. I felt the characters were all well presented and the story was told well.

    Apparently, Brian Hegleand rewrote parts of the script, but I can't imagine what, since the whole script seems so Wachowski. Huh...
  • A great movie.

    Sylvester Stallone and Antonio Banderas did a terrific job on the screen as they play the role of two killers.

    Stallone is Robert Rath, best killer around, the Number 1. Banderas is Miguel Bain, the one who wants to become the new Number 1, but if he wants to do so, he has to eliminate Rath.

    They meet at a funeral, where Rath's mark is killed by Bain before he does so. From then on, it's battle between the two.

    The movie is quite similar to "The Specialist"(1994) - another Sylvester Stallone movie - only that there he had no Banderas to fight against!

    A couple of words on the cast. Well, I already said that Stallone and Banderas did well but my compliments go to Julianne Moore. She was brilliant.

    Vote : 80/100.
  • CamaroLuvNgal8416 February 2003
    I thought this was a great action flick. I'm really into this genre of movies. I don't particularly like Sylvester Stallone but he was pretty good in this movie. Julianne Moore was good but I think she would've been better if her role was bigger. But I think Antonio Banderas stole the show. He was so good as the psychopathic assassin. I loved the chase scenes. Especially the scene in the taxi. Miguel Bain's (Banderas) evilness just oozed out of him as this scene played. Robert Rath (Stallone) wanted to kill Bain so bad during this scene. I loved the explosions. I just had a thought though. Whenever Rath blew Bain out of the window and then it showed Bain in the bathtub, shouldn't he have had more wounds than it showed? I don't know. Maybe it was just me. Anyways. This movie had violence but not as much as most movies in this genre does. I thought it had just enough. The ending was pretty good. It seemed like Bain just would not die. An invincible villain! How many times have you seen that in these kinds of movies? Well, I don't have much more to say about this film except I really enjoyed it and thanks for reading my review! Bye!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Sylvester Stallone, Antonio Banderas, and Julianne Moore star in this action movie: a battle of hit men. Stallone has had so many bad roles before, but this is one of the better roles I've seen him in. He would follow it five years later with a similar role in Get Carter. However, a real hit-man would not have hesitated to waste a woman. Antonio Banderas seemed out of character as an assassin. He was way over the top with emotional outbursts and impatience. These seem highly uncharacteristic of a successful assassin on his way up. Julianne Moore's character changed from a calm, cool bad girl into a helpless, bumbling female after meeting Stallone. How convenient! Many Of Richard Donner's other films have similar problems. However, there is enough enjoyable action, development and tension to enjoy the movie, as long as you suspend a lot of belief ...a lot of belief. *** of 4 stars.
  • Assassin Robert Rath (Sylvester Stallone) arrives at a funeral to kill a prominent mobster, only to witness rival hired gun Miguel Bain (Antonio Banderas) complete the job for him. Rath decides to take one last job and then return to civilian life but that final contract sees him falling for his target(Julianne Moore) and then becoming a marked man himself.

    Not one of my favourite Stallone films, its a bit lame actually and that's taking into account its age too. There were just too many dumb things to let go -the gun hidden in the cast at the funeral (like that's not obvious) Stallone's magic sandwich that he keeps taking bites out of but never chews or swallows, hiding behind a gravestone in plain sight of the mobs of Day of the Dead people that somehow don't see them. Maybe I just took this too seriously?

    I enjoyed it more as it moved along, I guess because the action picks up. Stallone does a decent enough job and I suppose he's meant to be some kind of anti-hero but that aspect never really comes through. A young Julianne Moore plays Electra, who is a high tech hacker/crazy cat lady/voyeur. Weird.

    As for Antonio Banderas he's c-c-crazy but in a good way. Totally over the top and insane, fun to watch cat and mouse-ing his way after Stallone. The ending climax is decent especially the bank scene with Antonio waiting (all day) to take Rath out and then the show down in the crumbling building. 2/17/16
  • Ok fellahs and dames, I saw this movie for the first time...yesterday...6 years this movie has been out and I saw it yesterday, pathetic I know, but I was definately not disappointed. Not only does this movie possess comedy, but it's thrilling. I was on the edge of my seat in some of the scenes. I honestly didn't know who to cheer for between Miguel (Antonio Banderas) and Robert (Sylvester Stallone). I enjoy them both and both their characters were hitmen. Even though Robert was trying to go through a change, he was still a hitman, end of story. Now Miguel he was a little more cut-throat. In this story Robert is starting to grow a soft spot and only kills the person he was hired to kill...leaving innocents out of it. While Miguel was ready to shoot a 7-year old soccer player to get what he wanted. Banderas plays this part well. I dunno if any of you caught this but when Banderas is handling a gun he does alot of the same things in movie. Scenes from the movie "Desperado" started to flash in my head when I saw Banderas and Stallone duking it out at the cemetary. Robert is then hired to hit a mark, which is a woman who is only known by a pair of cat eyes, to retrieve a disc, and also kill the buyers. Miguel is also hired for the same job causing a little game between the 2 hitmen. Ofcourse Robert can't come around to killing Electra (Julianne Moore), so he instead protects her and later teams up with her for some more delightfully planned out "fun". I really enjoyed this movie because I am the crime loving type. I also loved it because of the connection between Electra and Robert. A definate must see if you enjoy movies such as this. If you don't prefer them then go watch, "Aladdin".
  • In order to really enjoy this movie, you have to put your brain in a freezer for 133 minutes and just refrain from trying analyze anything in here. There are more holes in this story than swiss cheese, as the cliché somewhat goes.

    Having said that, however, I did enjoy the action scenes and the by-play between the two assassins - "Robert Rath" (Sylvester Stallone) and "Miguel Bain" (Antonio Banderas) - enough to make it a fun ride. I might even have rated it another star higher had a few things weren't confusing and left unanswered, or Banderas spoke clearer English. Still, it's not bad and for fans of "Sly" and action films, worth a look.
  • Rammstein-221 January 2000
    There are some touches that makes me think of Matrix in this film. The gunfighting scenes are really good, mostly because they are very silent - the assassins both use silencers, which adds new flavor to a well-used dish. I like that part very much. And Banderas is great to watch as usual. There simply isn't anyone with his mimics and his body language anywhere else. Stallone does a good job too, actually. And Julianne Moore, yeah well - who could say anything bad about her?

    Entertaining, fast-moving - and please! Check out that gunfight again.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I had never been a huge fan of Sylvester Stallone in the 1980s. I find most of his 80s flicks unwatchable. He doesn't have that ability to let loose and make fun of himself while still entertaining like Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger. I can think of a dozen or so Arnie flicks from his career that I can just plain sit back and enjoy b/c Arnie knew how to entertain an audience. Stallone has always taken himself too seriously and been too stiff. But guess what? A funny thing happened in the early 1990s. I started to like Sylvester Stallone! All of a sudden, he made these hugely entertaining action flicks that his style of, errr, acting seemed to be suited for: CLIFFHANGER, THE SPECIALIST, DAYLIGHT, and this film, my favorite of the lot, ASSASSINS. I love ASSASSINS! I can watch it over and over. The tone, pace, and style of the film perfectly fits Stallone's stoic, glaring, steely demeanor. And Stallone is damn freakin good in this film! It's one of his better film performances. Stallone plays Robert Rath (cool name), a veteran highly paid assassin who will only assassinate high-level shady criminals (nicknamed "marks"). He has morals of course, as noted early in the film. But Rath wants out. He's tired of killing for a living, so he wants to do one last job, assassinating a reclusive billionaire "mark" named Alan Branch, who financed South American death squads.

    But there's a complication. Rath finds that he's no longer alone. A cocksure, boisterous young gun named Miguel Bain (played with vim, vigor, and verve by Antonio Banderas). Bain kills Branch at his brother's funeral (where Rath was going to kill him), then the fun begins! Rath tracks down Bain and tries to eliminate him, but to no avail. Bain escapes and so Rath wants to know from his secret employer who this kid is. So Rath agrees to do one last job (this time he's serious; it pays 2 million dollars) to retrieve a disc with encrypted information and kill the buyers and the seller ("the mark"). The buyers are Interpol agents trying to capture Rath and Bain's secret employer. The "mark" (who intercepted the transmission) is a hot, slightly skewered-in-the-brain redheaded genius named "Elektra" and she is played by then newcomer and now top Hollywood actress Julianne Moore. I've never seen Moore's big time Oscar-nominated movies (except BOOGIE NIGHTS), but I've seen her in a lot of other stuff and this is my favorite thing she's done.

    As Rath is about to complete this 'final' mission, Bain steps in again and kills the buyers while Rath gets to Electra first before she turns over the disk information, but decides not to kill her since Bain has interceded again and he wants to stop this kid and deal with his employer for hiring him by extorting for 20 million dollars for his trouble. It is during this time that Rath and Electra develop a connection and become partners to stop Bain from repeating history (Rath killed the #1 assassin 15 years before to be #1; now Bain wants to kill Rath so he can become #1).

    Stallone, Banderas, and Moore are all excellent and keep the action lively and moving. I like the way the film shows how these highly trained professionals plot, scheme, think, and outwit their way through sticky and tricky situations. The action is spare, yet exciting when it comes and the film is an very interesting character study. It never slows down or drags at all, even though the pace is delibarate. The final showdown is thrilling to say the least. Well done all the way around!
  • If you have watched 'The Mechanic', you will certainly see a parallel between that movie & this movie. Both are fast-paced action movies about two assassins in conflict with each other.

    'The Mechanic' starred Charles Bronson in the lead role of a veteran contract hit-man, Arthur Bishop. He took on a cocky but ambitious young man, Steve McKenna, played by Jan-Michael Vincent, to be his protégé. The latter turned the table on the master.

    In this movie, 'Assassins', Sylvester Stallone played the lead role of a veteran contract hit-man, Robert Bath, who apparently was number one in the business. A cocky, but ambitious young hit-man, Miguel Bain, played by Antonio Banderas, came into the scene with the fatalistic idea of becoming the number one.

    Intertwined in their personal conflict of hierarchy, appeared a woman computer hacker, Electra, played by Julianne Moore, as well as a mysterious employer, Nikolai Taslinkov, who seemingly was connected to all the three key characters in the movie.

    For the rest of the movie, it was an exciting cat & mouse game between Bath & Bain, with Electra eventually teaming up with Bath to elude from & deal with Bain. The action sequences throughout the movie, especially the shoot-out inside a hotel in the first half & the shoot-out in an abandoned building (in Mexico) towards the end, were really good.

    It was quite fun to watch Antonio Banderas playing the hot-headed, crazy guy. He was really good, as good as Sylvester Stallone, who, as typical & in most of his movies of this genre (Nighthawks, Cobra, Judge Dredd, Demolition Man...), played the cool, confident character...maybe, a little stiff in some way. Julianne Moore, a very accomplished British actress, unfortunately had an understated role, although she did her best.

    On the whole, 'Assassins' has been an entertaining - never a dull moment - action movie to watch...especially when you can watch two assassins for the price of one!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is a top notch action film with 2 awesome performances from Stallone and Banderas!. It's very unpredictable, and a really cool twist at the end, that you won't see coming!. I loved the mind games between Stallone and Banderas, they were a LOT of fun to watch, and see them try to outsmart each other was a treat!. It's very intelligent, with only a few plot holes, plus the chemistry between Stallone and JUlianne Moore was great!. It's One of Stallone's best Non Rocky films, and one of his best performances too!, even though he is amazing in everything!. The Directing is awesome!. Richard Donner, does an awesome job here, with some great camera work, keeping the film fresh and overall keeping the film at VERY fast pace!. There is lots of blood, but we only get LOTS of extremely bloody gunshot wounds. The Acting is AWESOME!. Sylvester Stallone is AMAZING as always, he gives one of his best performances here, he kicks that ass, had awesome chemistry with Julianne Moore, and was just TONS of fun to watch!. Antonio Banderas is AWESOME here as the main villain , he was extremely menacing, funny, and him and Stallone were great fun to watch!, love his accent!. Julianne Moore, is STUNNINGLY GORGEOUS!, and was GREAT here, she had awesome chemistry with Stallone, and was very smart, she was a perfect choice to play this part!, she is a wonderful actress!. Anatoli Davydov, is good in his scene!. Overall GO see it! a must see! ***** out of 5
  • Enchorde5 December 2004
    Warning: Spoilers

    Robert Rath (Stallone), a professional hit-man, is starting to get tired of his job. He start to plan his retirement (note: not to confuse with his own death) but on a job another hit-man shoots the mark before Rath do. This newcomer has different tactics than Rath, he has no regard for innocent bystanders. Stallone takes up the hunt, and finally catch up with the hit-man named Miguel Bain (Banderas). They find themselves in a stalemate and Bain gets away when the police involves itself. Rath's next assignment is a unknown "ghost" who sells secret information to some Dutch men. All are to be eliminated. Once again both Rath and Bain finds themselves on the same assignment. But while Bain eliminates the Dutch men, Rath tracks down the ghost, a woman by the name Electra (Moore). But he doesn't kill her, and a strange relationship start to evolve. His employer doesn't get happy and Bain is sent to really retire Rath.

    It is an interesting plot with some really interesting scenes. In a movie where much of the killing is done by silenced long-range shots, the two adversaries Rath and Bain, often finds themselves close together, in a situation where violence is impossible. The confrontation is then more verbal, and I got a deeper understanding of the conflict than if they just were to shoot at each other. I think that made the movie both a little different from others and better. Of course there are enough scenes with shooting and explosions and so forth as well. The cast is good, Stallone is typical Stallone, maybe a little stiff. Moore is good as well but best of the three is Banderas as Bain. The plot, interesting as it is, is not really good at twists and turns though. There are some, but unfortunately a little to much advertised in the movie. What I guess was intended as a surprise wasn't surprising. But it is still an entertaining movie with a little different aspect.

  • lisa161129 January 2002
    I Enjoyed the film very much and i would watch it again , it is an good action film and stallone plays his part very well. The best part of the film is at the the end you never new what was going to happen. Stallone is another hero once again.
  • jeju00427 July 2013
    Antonio Banderas is outstanding in this movie and no one has put this in his resume. He was great!! He stole the show from Stallone. Great actor love his craziness!! Antonio kicked butt!! One of the best action movies and never mentioned as a top rated movie. Beats a lot of movies these days. Today is nothing like yesterday!! I would love to see Stallone and Banderas in another movie together there was great chemistry. I hope there are other viewers who agree with me on this. I'm hoping to stop writing now but the guidelines saying i need more text! i hope they will now take this or i will scream!Okay i'm screaming now i have nothing else to write-hello. OMG finally!!!
  • "Assassins" occupies a strange and strangely brief period in Sylvester Stallone's career. In the midst of the over-the-top antics of "Demolition Man" and the...over-the-top antics of "Judge Dredd," he made two films about Brooding Men of Action lured into One Last Job where they happen to Fall In Love and wonder What It's All For. Sure, Ray Quick likes to blow things up real good while Robert Rath just has a silenced .22, but now we're splitting hairs. The major difference is that while "The Specialist" soon turned into the ridiculous actioner most of Stallone's output embodies, "Assassins" tries to be a quieter (literally), more grounded thriller. Sadly, that does not make it a better, or even good, film.

    It does make an interesting first impression, though. The opening scene is striking, a black-and-white montage that feels abstract in its construction - a lot of emphasis on ticking clocks and cloudy skies. It's almost totally disconnected from the movie we end up getting, which only makes it more memorable. Perhaps if things had continued in that vein, it might have been onto something. But then it remembers it's a Stallone film.

    "Assassins" is somehow both incredibly simple and far too convoluted for its own good, but the basic premise is a cat-and-mouse game between Stallone's weary veteran Robert Rath and crazy young upstart Miguel Bain for the presumably venerated position of #1 killer in World? Other stuff happens, like a MacGuffin courtesy of hacker gal Elektra, but whatever. At 132 minutes, the film is far too long for the amount of plot it actually contains, with at least two scenes that achieve absolutely nothing beyond padding. Richard Donner, shepherd of the "Lethal Weapon" franchise, is out of his depth here - his action scenes alternate between silly and unremarkable, and his usual flourishes - blurry slow-mo, highly-destructive car chases - feel out of place. He's very much a more-is-more director, which is the wrong approach for this material, and it shows.

    Of course, it all comes back to the script. Reportedly, the original draft by the Wachowski siblings was thrown out and completely rewritten by "L.A. Confidential" and "Conspiracy Theory" scribe Brian Helgeland, at Donner's behest. If so, Helgeland delivered something that neither plays to Donner's strengths nor contains any of the siblings' quirky flair. For example, in the original draft (which you can find a link to on Wikipedia) there is a chess metaphor that recurs throughout, symbolizing Rath's relationship with his mentor, Nikolai. Helgeland gives this a perfunctory mention - in the middle of a car chase, no less - and it amounts to nothing in the end. A major twist would have been more effective if it made more sense, or wasn't dismissed almost immediately. Half-formed story beats are probably the least of its problems, anyway.

    Acting-wise, it has even more parallels with "The Specialist." Stallone, trying his hand once again at a more dour, repressed version of his usual persona, has the brooding look down, but falters badly when trying to inject a (terrible) one-liner. It's a vague glimpse of his superb work in "Cop Land," but stunted by his attempts to also be the action star. Moore, whose career would soon take off with "The Lost World" and "Boogie Nights," is similarly hamstrung by the material she's given. There's none of the depth of emotion she brings to her best roles, but then, Elektra has none of the depth of character that Moore's usual roles do. Hey, you gotta pay the bills somehow.

    No, as with James Woods in "The Specialist," it's the bad guy who wins out. Miguel Bain, like everyone else, is barely a character, but Antonio Banderas infuses him with such manic, live-wire energy that he overcomes the trite dialogue and wobbly tone to be the best thing about the film. To its credit, Banderas is given free reign to go way out to lunch, and while he can't possibly save it, he definitely carries it.

    "Assassins" is best considered an oddity in the careers of just about everyone involved. It's not what you'd expect from Stallone, Donner or Moore, and it might be worth seeing as an attempt for each to stretch themselves - though all would have better success with later work. As for Banderas, it's definitely one of his most entertaining turns, though not enough to raise this above a last-resort recommendation. If you're a film enthusiast, compare the Wachowskis' and Helgeland's drafts on Wikipedia, and try to envision the film this might have been. It can't have been any more confused about itself.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Robert Rath (Sylvester Stallone) is a hit-man who just wants to retire from the business. When he loses out on payment for his last contract when an unknown rival Miguel Bain (Antonio Banderas)takes out his contract before he had the chance, Rath agrees to take on another job on 4 Dutch Buyers who are intent on buying a disc from Electra (Julianne Moore) who is the mark who Rath has been assigned to kill. The trouble is that there is no intel on Electra making it tricky for Rath to find her. By the time, Rath does find her, Bain is already on the scene, but Bain locates the buyers rather than the mark. Rath then tricks Bain into thinking that he has killed Electra. Rath soon begins to realise that the Contractor is playing both himself and Bain off against each other and tries to find out who's doing it and why whilst also trying to stay one step ahead of his deadly rival.

    When watching films, I sometimes have to say to myself 'Come on, it's only a film, don't take it so seriously' and for the most part I can suspend disbelief, but there were some things in this film that just didn't make sense....

    1) Bain gets arrested by the police early on, but manages to slip his cuffs and escape killing about 3 maybe 4 police officers in the process. Due to the nature of his escape and due to the fact that he killed a few officers made me think to myself 'Wow!! Bain will end up being one of the most wanted men in the city', but after the early police presence we see no police officers pursuing either Rath or Bain that in spite of the number of people Bain kills throughout the film. It just wasn't believable.

    2) We also are expected to accept that Bain has a skeleton made of steel - he gets crushed between a car and a bus (whilst they're both moving) and also gets blown out of a third floor window. On both occasions, he seems to suffer no 'ill effects' - it's an action thriller so I can probably let this one slide, but it still kind of annoys me.

    3)In the closing stages of the film, it's revealed that the 'Contractor' was the guy who Rath was ordered to kill 15 years ago. Rath believed that the 'Contractor' was dead, but Rath fired at the Contractor's heart and the 'Contractor' had some sort of prosthetic shell covering his heart due to the fact that he knew Rath would aim for his heart. This was quite a nice twist and it explains why he targeted and set up Rath, but why was he stringing Bain along? It's possible that the 'Contractor' may have played Rath and Bain off against each other purely for his own amusement and in order for Rath to prove that he truly is the best, but this is unclear.

    All in all, if you take this film as it is then it is an entertaining and fairly decent thriller. Considering it's 130 minutes long, it actually moves at a reasonably good pace with only the odd sag here and there. Despite my gripes above, I did enjoy the film and would say that it's worth a look.
  • Warning: Spoilers

    All movies start off with a grace period where the possibilities for a good movie still exist. Your mind is full of hope. "Assassins" grace period lasts for about two seconds. When the movie started, I was living in a dream world. Then Stallone showed up as a hitman wearing a sweater. I woke up screaming.

    "Assassins" is the definition of lame. You know things are bad when Stallone won't even kill his target at the beginning of the movie. His victim is whining and blubbering about how Stallone only kills bad people. Stallone looks pensive in his mighty sweater. His words of whining really touch Stallone. Then Stallone gives the guy a gun to kill himself! Stallone is an assassin right? That's his job title right? Aren't assassins supposed to, uh, assassinate people? Ugh. How lame.

    So Banderas shows up to take Stallone out of the picture. Banderas knows that Stallone has got to go. It's that dang sweater. Stallone should never wear a sweater. Hitmen don't wear sweaters. Stallone could not get into the idea of being an assassin so Banderas had to come along and finish him off. It's not often I root for Banderas. The sweater made me do it.
  • I'm mystified by the weak reviews for this film, which I've watched many times since discovering it in the DVD bargain bin. Assassins has everything anyone could want in a popcorn action flick: great cast, interesting premise, good action sequences well mixed with character-driven tension-builders.

    Basically, Stallone and Banderas are rival hit men, who inevitably end up pitted against one another. As you'd expect, the fun is in their contrasting styles - Stallone the world-weary professional, Banderas the brash younger upstart - with both actors really getting the most out of these admittedly stereotypical roles. Julianne Moore makes a great love interest, playing a nerd (hey, this IS fiction) who gets herself in trouble by hacking the wrong secrets to the wrong people.

    The story builds through some nice set-piece stand-offs between Stallone and Banderas, and climaxes with a sweaty showdown almost worthy of a Sergio Leone or Sam Peckinpah. True, Richard Donner lacks the style of those great directors, but it's that kind of situation, and Donner milks it for all its delicious tension, through to the satisfying if not entirely surprising resolution.

    Sure, Assassins isn't exactly cinema at its finest. But it delivers what it promises: some clever action that, for once, takes the time to evolve from the characters - no doubt courtesy of the Wachowski Brothers' above-average script. I'd put Assassins right up alongside some of Stallone's other under-rated action flicks - well ahead of simpler films like The Specialist and Cliffhanger, and even smidgen ahead of the more robust Daylight.

    Don't go in expecting Citizen Kane, and you should have have a grin-inducing good time with this one.
  • This highly engaging thriller has a polished edge of style and sophistication to it, giving it an upper hand over the rest of the endless action movies churned out during the never-ending '90s. Mixing the talents of an established director who knows how to handle the action - step up, Richard Donner - and two soon-to-be-mega-famous scriptwriters, the Wachowski brothers (THE MATRIX), plus some surprisingly good performances from the interesting cast, and what you have is a decent movie. The action sequences are excellently handled, highly realistic and at the same time very exciting, and the various special effects and stunts are inserted perfectly into the flow of things.

    Meanwhile the scenes of suspense between the action are full of very real danger, so despite the long running time you never find your attention wavering. Cast in the flawed hero mould is endlessly-criticised Sylvestor Stallone, putting in a nicely subtle performance and letting his nemesis, Antonio Banderas, do all of the (over)acting as psychotic but deadly assassin Miguel Bain. Holding the movie together is a low-key and sweet Julianne Moore, as a surveillance expert who finds herself over her head and in the middle of a violent battle to the death between two expert marksmen. The only problem I have with a film like this is that all other action movies don't possess the same level of commitment, grace, and intelligence as this one does.
  • Released in 1995, Richard Donner's "Assassins" is a slick action flick starring Sylvester Stallone as Rath, a professional hit man who wants out of the business after decades of killing. Antonio Banderas plays his young rival and Julianne Moore a computer whiz with whom Rath teams up. Anatoli Davydov is also on hand.

    At a 132 minutes, "Assassins" is too long for what it is – a wall-to-wall action movie where someone gets shot every 1-2 minutes, at least during the numerous ultra-violent sequences. This would be alright if the story and characters were interesting enough to warrant such length, but they're not. Banderas shines in the role of Bain, the zealous murderous psycho, but being a "murderous psycho" means he will get no sympathy from the viewer, otherwise he wouldn't be a murderous psycho. The characters played by Stallone and Moore are more sympathetic, but there's not enough detail to really care about them. Beyond that, the plot is convoluted even while the film is snappy. Despite the thrills, the story's just not engrossing enough to give a higher grade, but it's nowhere near as bad in this regard as, say, "The Mummy Returns." In other words, "Assassins" moderately keeps your attention.

    And then there's the pile-up of implausibilities that are too easy to spot, like how does Bain not get seriously wounded by a bus while hanging out the window of a taxi? How does he emerge virtually unscathed from a fall from a third-story window after a great explosion? Even if the table protected his head and mid-section, what about his fingers and legs that weren't protected? How did he NOT break something from the awkward fall? Why does Rath blow valuable seconds looking for a dumpster to throw a suitcase with a ticking bomb? If you knew a sniper was waiting for you outside a bank, wouldn't you use the back door and then maybe surprise the assassin from behind? If someone pulls a gun on you, like at the end with Bain and Rath, wouldn't you automatically shoot first and ask questions later? Lastly, the whole set-up at the end with one character waiting in the bank, another as a sniper in an abandoned hotel, and the other outside informing the one in the bank is the height of contrived.

    I realize implausible and contrived things happen in all action flicks, but the really good ones are able to get away with it because the filmmakers take the extra time to work out the kinks and make a truly compelling picture, like "Terminator 2," and not merely string together a bunch of "exciting" action scenes with contrivances galore. Still, "Assassins" is worth checking out if you like the cast and are in the mood for a polished action/thriller.

    The film was shot in Seattle & Everett, Washington, Portland, Oregon, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

    GRADE: C+
  • This is the film you hit the theatre watching and go home asking yourself one question: What if? The movie completely casts an aurora of non-fiction techniques that any top Navy Seal or Special forces recruit can pull off. Everything in this film is possible. Only one part in the beginning; after the police apprehend their suspect they'd have him in the squad car for hours until they complete their graveyard murder investigation----witnesses would be brought over to the police car to positively I.D. the suspect. And assassins are psychopathic. They never change. So no, the one assassin would never go from high-paid contract killer to choir boy. There should be a sequel to this film too. I love these assassin movies; like Michael Mann's Collateral. I want more!
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