Assassins (1995)

assassin poster 1995 movie sylvester stallone
5.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 5/10

Good concept

Bad execution, dull, lifeless, confusing

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Assassins

Studio:  Silver Pictures

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  October 6, 1995

MPAA Rating:  R


Can’t even take a cab in the city without it turning into a gunfight!

Robert Rath (Sylvester Stallone) is widely considered the world’s top assassin and a killer so cold that he murdered his mentor Nicolai Tashlinkov (Antoly Davydov) when he became a mark.  Sent on a mission by his mysterious assignment manager, Robert learns that there is a new assassin in town named Miguel Bain (Antonio Banderas) who hopes the take the title from Robert.  Teaming with the woman he is assigned to assassinate, Robert and Electra (Julianne Moore) must evade Miguel and try to leave their pasts behind once and for all!

Directed by Richard Donner, Assassins was generally panned upon its release.  The script was written by Lana and Lilly Wachowski, but the Wachowskis asked (unsuccessfully) to be removed from the script due to heavy rewrites.  Sylvester Stallone was nominated for a Razzie for Worst Actor (along with his performance in Judge Dredd).


Shut up about the cat…who do you think you are? Sigourney Weaver in Alien?

I remember thinking the concept of Assassins was pretty good when it was coming out.  The idea of two professionals duking it out for the top spot was kind of intriguing.  The bad reviews kept me away from Assassins.  I feel that was probably a good choice, but it isn’t the worst action film.

The main problem with the movie is that it is quite dull.  For an action film about killers with big guns, there are a lot of non-“moments”.  The movie should be tense and exciting with epic gun battles (especially considering where gunfights have gone since Assassins was released).  Assassins could have been ahead of its time, but instead it slowly plods along to an ending that doesn’t really get enough explanation.


I’ve taken out better men than you in professional arm wrestling competitions!

There was a lot debate on the casting for the movie.  Donner has said he wish he flipped the actors’ roles and the original lead was written for Sean Connery and not Stallone.  In addition to this, Michael Douglas, Mel Gibson, and Arnold Schwarzenegger were also considered for Stallone’s role with Woody Harrelson, Christian Slater, and Tom Cruise as potential actors for Miguel Bain.  Julienne Moore feels a bit out of place in the movie as almost a bizarre Catwoman-esque love interest for Stallone…that lady is way too into cats.

The visuals are also a disappointment.  I imagine Assassins if it had been done in the style of The Matrix before The Matrix (which had stolen a lot of its visuals from other movies as well).  That is what I feel the movie was originally intended to be but it just comes out as a weak action thriller.

Assassins probably shouldn’t have been as heavily criticized as it was, but it isn’t good.   It is rather disappointing because it could have been a fun movie with great locals and amazing visuals; I didn’t even mind Stallone who seemed to play a much more toned down version of his normal “action” self.  The format for Assassins has been used before and will be used again…and probably will be better for it.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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