The Specialist (1994)

3.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Acting: 3/10
Visuals: 4/10

Story has potential

Dull action movie, bad acting

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Specialist

Studio:  Warner Bros.

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  October 7, 1994

MPAA Rating:  R


Are you using me? Am I using you? Do I care anymore?

Ray Quick (Sylvester Stallone) is haunted by his past.  A former CIA explosives expert, Ray dropped out after a mission went wrong with his commander Ned Trent (James Woods).  Working as a hit man, Ray is contacted by May Munro (Sharon Stone) who asks Ray to help her get revenge against Tomas Leon (Eric Roberts) who killed her parents.  May has infiltrated Leon’s crime syndicate and Ray isn’t sure which side May is working.  Ray has learned that Ned is part of Tomas’ crew and finds him facing off against his old enemy.

Directed by Luis Llosa, The Specialist is an action-adventure based on John Shirley’s The Specialist novels which began in 1984 with The Specialist:  A Talent for Revenge (written under the pen-name of John Cutter).  The movie was universally panned and won Razzies for Worst Actress (Stone—also for Intersection) and Worst Screen Couple (Stallone and Stone—tied with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt for Interview with the Vampire) and nominations for Worst Picture, Worst Actor (Stallone), and Worst Supporting Actor (Rod Steiger).


That awkward moment when your boss loses his mind in front of you.

When The Specialist was released, it just seemed generic.  It was a bad title with the uber-action star Sylvester Stallone as Stallone was already a fading star that wasn’t transitioning well.  You add to that Sharon Stone who is (in my opinion) generally acting challenged and you have trouble.

The plot for the movie just drags.  The idea of Sharon Stone (who is supposed to be in her early twenties) playing both sides is interesting but it is overdone and you stop caring if she is playing both sides.  The movie has this weird tone that never really seems to peak…it is an action movie where the action does little to make the movie exciting.


Hey guys, this place is really blowing up…should we do something?

As expected, the acting is rather wooden.  Stallone is moody and feels like he is just saying his lines and Stone also just feels like she’s going through the motions.  The picture was almost a vehicle for Steven Seagal, but Seagal wanted too much money.  Generally the supporting actors of James Woods, Eric Roberts, or Rod Steiger would elevate a movie, but here the actors sink to the level of the script.

The visuals for the movie are so-so.  There are some good explosions, but with little plot and acting to tie them in, it doesn’t matter if explosions were great.  The movie had potential to look better under David Fincher, but Fincher didn’t make the cut due to the failure of Alien3.

The Specialist is a dull event that barely can be called an action film.  The movie is slow and plods along with a lethargic pace.  Sylvester Stallone has done better and even some of Stallone bad movies look good next to this film which is possibly one of his worst efforts.  Don’t bother with The Specialist…just rewatch First Blood or Rambo:  First Blood Part II instead.

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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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