The Assignment

Swift shot: Remo Williams for the 90s, really, think Remo Williams meets The Jackal sans Bruce Willis.  Oh sure, this one only has Donald Sutherland and Ben Kingsley, maybe ya heard of them?  This was a Canadian film, and some of the acting made me want to reach into my throat and rip out my spine just so I would have something to throw at the screen – BUT, the story is too cool to just place this one in the bilge pile.

The Jackal, another character I am sure most of my fans have heard of, has been up to no good, killing men, women, children and probably kittens too, because that is how fucking evil this sunavabitch is.  The crusty old CIA station chief in Paris, Henry Fields (Donald Sutherland) comes close to ending The Jackal’s wily ways in Vienna in 1975, but he slips free.  Flash forward some eleven years later, and he is spotted by Mossad agents in Jerusalem . . . or is he?

The Mossad chief, played surgically by Sir Ben Kingsley is convinced he has captured the hated Jackal, only to learn that he has in fact accidentally black-bagged a Cuban- American naval officer (Aidan “dead pan” Quinn) who is a dead-ringer for Carlos, The Jackal.  Once the CIA learns they have such a jewel in their own ranks, our sailor, Annibal is made an offer he can’t refuse, well, at least not the third time.

Enter my favorite part of the film, his training to become The Jackal.  Lovers of Remo Williams will relish these scenes as they are a much more believable imagining of what such training, may or may not, consist of.  I will say that deep cover training aint for the squeamish, and everything they subject poor sailor-boy to is for his own good and to keep him alive.

As with most undercover work, they focus on the attributes that Annibal (a name so lame, this story HAS to be BOATS) shares with his cover – and they oddly share quite a bit.  This film will teach you how to know when your woman is cheating on you, when people are lying to you, and how to dispose of pesky spiders.

Let me just say, I miss the 90s!  There is a lot of violence and gratuitous nudity in this film layered with complexity.  Even when the acting sucks, if you really think about the scenes as possibly authentic scenarios in these people’s lives – the focus becomes exhilarating and tantalizing.  For example, the first blood drawn by our hero is not even enemy blood, it is what I will call gray on gray violence, because spooks are all gray, they operate in the gray zone of justice.  I mean, haven’t you ever felt for the poor sap that James Bond plinks without regard, some poor henchman or security guard, who loses sleep over them, really?

The Assignment will give you a whole new perspective on black ops and secrets, and the lies our governments tell us so that we might all sleep a little better at night.  If you can bypass some of the really terrible acting in this film, you’ll enjoy it.  As for a movie that NEEDS to be remade . . . @actionchick, I think The Assignment is a good candidate.


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