Friday 29 July 2022

Movie Review: Assassination (1987)

A rudimentary action movie, Assassination is a low-budget excuse for Charles Bronson to side-step a few explosions and cause a few of his own.

In Washington DC, senior Secret Service agent Jay Killian (Bronson) returns to work after some sick leave. With a new President about to the sworn in, Killian is disappointed to learn he is tasked with protecting the First Lady Lara Craig (Jill Ireland). Nevertheless, he gets down to work with his partner agent Charlotte Chang (Jan Gan Boyd).

Lara is opinionated and refuses to follow Killian's security advice. They clash frequently, but then a series of dangerous incidents convince Killian that Lara's life is being targeted. Her unusual relationship with the President also raises questions. Soon Lara and Killian are on the run, evading several attempts on her life.

Produced by Cannon Films and featuring the penultimate Jill Ireland screen performance, Assassination does a few (very few) things right. The spiky dynamic between the husband and wife pairing of Bronson and Ireland is easygoing and fairly enjoyable. The if it moves, it explodes scientific principle is staunchly applied. The explosions are never necessary, but always three times as big as they need to be. And the casting of Jan Gan Boyd as Killian's feisty partner (in more ways than one) is progressive, although she never comes close to convincing as a Secret Service agent.

Otherwise, the plot is beyond ridiculous, character definitions are non-existent, the wooden supporting actors are laughably inept, the villains are barely identified, the editing is often painfully amateurish, and the directing by Peter Hunt is distracted. Once Killian and Lara go on the run (in planes, trains, and automobiles, plus motorbikes), the film unravels into an endless series of escapes and near-misses strung together with no context. The movie becomes a boring playground for stunt performers and the pyrotechnic crew.

Assassination has no shortage of big bangs, but fizzles into a whimper.

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