08th Mar2015

‘Assassin’ Blu-ray Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Danny Dyer, Gary Kemp, Martin Kemp, Anouska Mond, Deborah Moore, Robert Cavanah, Holly Weston, Paul Terry, Natalia Ryumina, Bruce Lawrence, Kris Sommerville | Written and Directed by J.K. Amalou


What can we say about Danny Dyer? Well that you probably had a reaction to that name at least shows that he has an impact on the pop culture of movies and television.  This isn’t going to be a review that takes a look at him at his worst though, or even his best, but we can’t get away from the fact that Assassin is a film that is using not only his star quality but that of Martin and Gary Kemp to get some attention.  Not to say that is a bad thing though.

In Assassin Danny Dyer plays the part of Keith a cold-faced assassin given the job to kill a business man who has managed to get on the wrong side of John and Lee Alberts (Garry and Martin Kemp) notorious gang land legends who have managed to clean up their act, or that is what they want people to think.  Everything seems to go okay until Keith falls in love with the victim’s daughter Chloe (Holly Weston) who refuses to stop investigating the truth behind her father’s death.  When she comes too close for comfort to the truth, the brothers target her for death too.  Keith is given the task of killing her, but finds himself torn between protecting the women he loves and doing the job he was paid to do.

Assassin has a story that feels like it does just enough to keep the audience’s interest, but never takes that further step to offer something that will keep them entertained, it never feels like it is really trying to do anything but be an average movie.  The problem is it doesn’t try to be any different from anything that has come before, and when things go wrong the problems with the film are jarring and very noticeable.  Before you think I’m going to fall into the trap of saying “this is just another Danny Dyer film” I’m not, if anything he is one of the actors who manages to keep the audience’s attention and keep the audience watching at least.  You find yourself wanting Keith to survive and to save Chloe, even if you are not fully bought into their story.

His performance isn’t perfect though and (personally) I felt that he needed to put at least some emotion into some of the scenes where he showed none.  When his character is meant to be one that hides emotion though, I’m so he can be forgiven for that.  If anything the script often lets him down, and there is at least one scene where instead of taking him seriously you actually unintentionally end up laughing aloud at a very typical “Danny Dyer” response to somebody trying to force their way through the door.  Praise has to be given too to Holly Weston also who works well with Dyer to build a believable relationship in a film that is struggling to have that needed atmosphere.

My problem with Assassin is that there feels to be very little character development, which may be a reason that I was able to take notice of Dyer’s performance and see its positives.  His “cold-faced” killer is meant to be a man with no history, so when character development is kept to a minimum this is the perfect setting for somebody who wants to have little impact upon the world.  Gary Kemp and Martin Kemp’s characters come across as confusing (as an example) as they try to protect their legacy and image by killing anybody in their way.  The police know their past and look at them as the number one suspects in murders that take place.  Using the excuse that there is no evidence to connect them to the murders just doesn’t work.  The fact they are shooting and paying for the killing of so many people around them contradicts the image which they are trying to create.  Even if we try to argue that Dyer’s character is doing a good job at hiding what they have him do, he’s not that good at being such an invisible character himself.

I wanted to like Assassin and there were moments of real potential in the film, it just didn’t take that further step to make the movie stand out from the crowd.  This isn’t a film that can be used to highlight how bad (or good) Danny Dyer’s performance is but it isn’t one of his better ones as can be said with the Kemps too.  What the film leaves you with is a feeling of lost potential where something was lacking to make it that good film you wanted.  Assassin is a British gangster movie that won’t stand out of the crowd, but it also won’t sit in the corner with some of the genre’s worst examples, and there are some stinkers out there.  It’s just a shame that it could have been so much better.

*** 3/5

Assassin is out on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK from March 9th.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek


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