Thursday, July 5, 2018

Short Attention Span Review: The Assignment (2016)

Short Attention Span Review: The Assignment (2016)

Walter Hill is one of my favorite directors.  Sometimes I think he may be my favorite, and at a bare minimum, he is safely in my top three alongside QT and John Carpenter.  So, while a goofy premise and lackluster reviews kept me from watching The Assignment until recently, I couldn't fathom Hill churning out a picture as lousy as this one was made out to be.  Upon review, I can say that this is no out and out travesty, but it isn't all that good either.  While the cast is on their game, with Sigourney Weaver leading the way while Michelle Rodriguez and Tony Shalhoub are both rock solid, and Hill's direction is slick as usual, The Assignment is a bit of a bore.  If it had been engineered to produce grindhouse thrills, I think it may have been a wicked good time at the movies, but the film suffers from an identity crisis that undermines it at every turn.  The Assignment surely has the necessary ingredients for an action yarn or a grimy thriller, but despite the relevant plot points and characters being in play, it fails to yield a single worthwhile action scene or any real thrills.  The key components seem ill-suited for a psychological thriller or (gasp!) a drama, but all too often that seemed to be what Hill was aiming for here.  It's a head-scratcher, and while it may not be a total mess, it is a flat and dull affair that wastes an awful lot of potential. 

Final Grade: D

Weaver does a fine job throughout and makes for a most curious villain, but the movie is too unfocused to match her performance.

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