Assassin Club review
Flawless in its ineptness, Assassin Club misses the mark of being an entertaining over the top action spy game with every shot.
Also: A rule of thumb for studios with an assassin/hitman movie in the queue — don’t release the film the same year a new John Wick film already hit theaters. It’s not going to be a favorable comparison.
Not that Assassin Club is in the same league as the Wick franchise by any means. The filmmakers seem content to create a middling, disorienting mediocre effort held together by its lead.
Following his breakout success in Crazy Rich Asians, Henry Golding got his big action starring role in Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins. That film would have been fine if it avoided every trace of G.I. Joe and was just a basic action movie.
Golding has the kind of screen presence where in an alternate universe, he’d headline two or three James Bond films. It’s not hard to envision him thriving in an action franchise as soon as he gets his John Wick high quality role. And no, that’s not arriving with Assassin Club.
Renown assassin, Morgan (Golding), is ready to get out of the game. He survived a near death experience and wants to settle into a normal life with his girlfriend, Sophie (Daniela Mechior, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3), who thinks he’s a photojournalist.
Morgan’s mentor, Caldwell (Sam Neill, Thor: Love and Thunder), tips him off to a big retirement level score. All Morgan has to do is take out a gamut of his fellow assassins before they kill him first. The last hitman/hitwoman standing gets a $6 million payday.
Reluctantly, Morgan agrees to this final mission finding capable and deadly threats every step of the way. The ingredients are here for a fun, exhilarating 10 Little Assassins style story in the vein of Bullet Train, but screenwriter Thomas Dunn (Triggered) takes the premise too seriously despite a largely laughable execution.
- The Last Kingdom: Seven Kings Must Die review
- Superman and Lois – Of Sound Mind review S3 E6
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 review
- Citadel – The Human Enigma review S1 E1
Dunn’s biggest struggle is coming up with scenarios that challenge Morgan without making him look like the most incompetent or luckiest hitman to enter the biz. At every turn, Morgan has to do something incredibly stupid to introduce another new threat.
Noomi Rapace (Lamb) plays Falk, a fellow assassin who offers to team-up with Morgan so they can find out who wants them all dead. It takes Dunn too long to connect the scattered narrative threads and the story comes off disjointed.
Director Camille Delamarre (The Transporter Refueled) didn’t conceive an action scene he didn’t think he could improve with slow-motion and hyper editing. Even the sequences that are reasonably creatively staged suffer from Delamarre’s distracting Bourne-style editing.
Delamarre stages the film like it’s this amped up action thriller with equally dramatic story beats. Action scenes are littered with distracting over-editing at breakneck speed and an extra boost to the soundtrack.
Rapace tries out a Southern style accent at times that wasn’t a great choice and there’s no explanation why Falk wears deep blue contacts and an ill-fitting blonde wig.
The final act stretches the film past its credibility breaking point as again Dunn has to make Morgan an idiot in order to set up the final fight. And even then, Morgan completely botches the assignment requiring a bail out from a reluctant inspector (Jimmy Jean-Louis, The Gray Man) to bail him out.
Assassin Club should be more fun given its concept, but it’s a slog stretched out for nearly two hours that needed a true professional to put out of its misery long ago.
Rating: 2 out of 10
Photo Credit: Paramount Global Content Distribution