Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Richard Donner|
|Music by||Mark Mancina|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros.|
|Running time||132 minutes |
Assassins is a 1995 American action thriller film directed and produced by Richard Donner, written by Andy and Larry Wachowski and also rewritten by Brian Helgeland. The film stars Sylvester Stallone, Antonio Banderas and Julianne Moore. The Wachowskis stated that their script was "totally rewritten" by Helgeland, and that they tried to remove their names from the film but failed.
Robert Rath (Sylvester Stallone) is a paid assassin who wants nothing more than to get out of 'the business', haunted by the memory of murdering his own mentor Nicolai years ago. Rath is a quiet, morose professional who is on an assignment to kill someone when someone else gets to the 'mark' (the target) before he does. That person turns out to be Miguel Bain (Antonio Banderas), a fellow assassin and a competitive sociopath. Rath then has the trouble of trying to figure out who sent Bain, the contractor offers him one last job that could financially allow him to retire: killing the four Dutch buyers and the computer hacker named Electra (Julianne Moore) and retrieve a disk that contains sensitive information. Electra has set up cameras in all the rooms of the apartment block where she lives and watches them like watching television.
Bain is assigned to kill Electra as well. Bain kills the four Dutch buyers who turn out to be Interpol agents and Rath comes to kill Electra but for the first time has a change of heart. His pay for the job is given to him in a briefcase in exchange for the disk. The briefcase actually contains a bomb placed by his own contractor in an attempt to kill him. Luckily Electra had swapped the disk, not sure if Rath was coming back or not. The contractor takes the chance and hires Bain to terminate him; now having become a target along with Electra he must try and extract enough money out of his contractor so he can disappear for good, while avoiding the bloodthirsty Bain. Rath's contractor turns out to be none other than Nicolai himself who also hired Bain to track down Electra and the disk.
- Sylvester Stallone – Robert Rath
- Antonio Banderas – Miguel Bain
- Julianne Moore – Electra
- Anatoly Davydov – Nicolai Tashlinkov
- Muse Watson – Ketcham
- Steve Kahan – Alan Branch
- Kai Wulff – Remy
- Mark Coates – Jereme Kyle
- Kelly Rowan – Jennifer
- Reed Diamond - Bob
The original spec screenplay was written by Larry and Andy Wachowski and sold for a million dollars to producer Joel Silver around the same time he bought their script for The Matrix, also for a million dollars. The script was similar to the final product, but with a more developed love story between Rath and Electra and a briefer ending without the character of Nicolai. Joel Silver offered Richard Donner $10 million to direct, but Donner insisted the script be rewritten to tone down the violence and make the central character more sympathetic and brought in Brian Helgeland, who did a page one rewrite and earned a co-screenwriter credit. The Wachowskis attempted to remove their name from the film but were refused by the Writers Guild of America. Later, after watching Bound, Joel Silver apologized to the brothers over Assassins and offered them the chance to direct their script The Matrix.
Sean Connery, Michael Douglas and Arnold Schwarzenegger were all considered for the role of Robert Rath while Christian Slater, Woody Harrelson and Tom Cruise were considered for the role of Miguel Bain.
The film was shot entirely in the Seattle Tacoma Everett metropolitan area (the Puget Sound region) of Washington State except the ending scenes which were shot in Puerto Rico. It features a Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) procession crossing the streets of San Juan. This procession is mainly a Mexican tradition and is not celebrated in Puerto Rico. The movie also featured several local actors, such as Axel Anderson and Juan Manuel Lebrón playing bit parts.
The Banco de Puerto Rico building featured in the movie is actually a historic casino which was previously featured in the film La Gran Fiesta.
A few years after its release, Richard Donner admitted that if he had to make the film again, he would have stuck closer to the Wachowskis' original script and swapped the main leads, so that Stallone would be the reckless killer and Banderas would star as the experienced pro. In 2013, the film gained popularity in the gaming community as a GIF image of Banderas glancing at a laptop and leaning back in his chair with delight became associated with the PlayStation 4.
The film received mostly negative press, and currently holds a 16% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 45 reviews, with an average rating of 3.7/10. The script was heavily criticized for being confusing and dull. However, the actors' performances were praised. Stallone's performance in the film earned him a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Actor (also for Judge Dredd), but lost the trophy to Pauly Shore for Jury Duty.
- "ASSASSINS (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 1995-10-02. Retrieved 2012-01-03.
- "Assassins". British Film Institute. London. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
- Assassins at Box Office Mojo
- [dead link]
- "Beyond the Matrix". The New Yorker. 2012-09-10. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
- Wilmington, Michael (1995-10-06). "Bad Guys Win, Viewers Lose In `Assassins'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
- Maslin, Janet (1995-10-06). "FILM REVIEW; The Gunplay When Killers Compete". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-10-01.
- "Assassins". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-07-28.
- Dutka, Elaine (1995-10-10). "'Seven' Holds Onto Its First-Place Spot". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
- Assassins at the Internet Movie Database
- Assassins at Box Office Mojo
- Original screenplay by Andy and Larry Wachowski
- Screenplay revised by Brian Helgeland