By: Addison Wylie
The vaguely titled Assassin has the ability to be cool, but instead settles on being “cool”.
There are cool shots of hitman Jamie (played by Danny Dyer) on his motorcycle as he zips to a hired job and zooms off to collect his earnings, and I quite like what filmmaker J.K. Amalou can do with the correct lighting. Then, there are those “cool” moments where popular songs ineffectively crash into a scene while Jamie – channeling a stiff video game character – creeps around thinking of tough poses that could assist Assassin’s marketing team.
To reference another UK property, Assassin reminded me of that Sacha Baron Cohen sketch where Ali G pitched a James Bond-type of movie to film producers, promising them he could obtain Jennifer Lopez to take part in graphic sex scenes. If Ali G made a movie after watching Drive one too many times, Assassin would be what those film producers would be seeing.
Dyer has three settings: conflicted, angry, and unresponsive. All of which aren’t aimed towards his character but rather at the movie he’s in. He’s emotional during scenes that call for no-brainer action, and hard-boiled during romantic exchanges between him and his off-limit girlfriend Chloe (played by Holly Weston). I feel for Dyer though. He’s being misdirected by Amalou, a filmmaker who is uncertain when adjusting Assassin’s tone even though he’s making a fairly straightforward crime film.
Sometimes, a filmmaker is lucky enough to be paired with a multi-talented action star who knows how to lift their weight and then some. Even the worst Jason Statham vehicles are watchable because of how gifted Statham is. That’s not to discredit Dyer, who looks as if he wants to expand on his cookie-cutter hired killer. He just needs extra rehearsal time to shape his character, but it appears as if Amalou couldn’t care to comply.
If an action junkie was to shrink their expectations to a very low level, Assassin could be a painless way to kill 80 minutes. Amalou’s movie is a measly offering, but it keeps itself moving in order to entertain a very broad crowd in search of easy entertainment. However, even those movie goers may find themselves cheated by how Amalou’s lacklustre screenplay sums up how love doesn’t belong in a world of corruption.