Assassination (1987) – Review

1 Star

Assassination is a particularly shoddy, but relatively tame by Bronson standards, vehicle that looks, sounds and behaves as if it knows it’s a second-tier production. Listless pacing, absurd plotting, and baffling editing choices are made more confounding considering that director Peter R. Hunt crafted the most under-rated Bond film of all time, Her Majesty’s Secret Service.

Jay Killian (Charles Bronson) is an over-the-hill veteran Secret Service agent. Having returned from a forced absence, Killian is given a new assignment: to protect the First Lady, Lara Royce Craig (Jill Ireland) aka ‘Big Mamma’.

Taking this un-ideal detail as an insult Killian petitions his superiors to return to the Presidential watch. Making his life harder, the First Lady proves to be difficult to handle. The character is bratty, arrogant, condescending, and skeptical of Killian’s focus and abilities to protect.

After a near-fatal assassination attempt Killian becomes Lara’s only hope of survival from a determined killer. The pair flee into the mid-west and attempt to draw out the assassin and his contractor.

Cannon films’ marketing department sold the movie as an action-thriller. Let me be the first to tell you; the action is limp and the thrills are nonexistent. Another absurd oddity is the relation between Bronson and his lustful female Asian partner. The near 30 year age difference aside, her character goes from serious to cartoonish and back several times, I can’t tell if it’s a bad performance or just an ill-conceived plot device. The equivalent of The Cannon Ball Run II for Bronson fans. Charlie sulks through the film with a frown as if a hemorrhoid is acting up.

Director: Peter R. Hunt
Stars: Charles Bronson, Jill Ireland, Stephen Elliott

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