Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Hour of the Assassin



HOUR OF THE ASSASSIN (1986)

Directed by: Luis Llosa
Written by: Matt Leipzig
Starring: Robert Vaughn & Erik Estrada

Hour of the Assassin is an unpretentious, low-rent action film that makes up for what it lacks in depth and coherency with ample amounts of car chases, fights and shoot outs. Plus, Robert Vaughn is in it and he always makes a flick, especially a low rent action flick, worth watching. Erik Estrada (CHIPS, Light Blast) co-stars as assassin for hire, Fierro, who is recruited to take out the President of San Pedro. Bearing a grudge against the President and his country’s people, he sets out determined to complete his mission no matter the cost. On his trail is CIA agent, Merrick (Vaughn) and the two play cat and mouse across the country, each determined to outwit the other.



Hour of the Assassin is a cheap and cheerful actioner from the mid eighties produced by the legendary Roger Corman. Shot in Peru, the setting and locations provide a nice back drop and compensate for the lack of budget. The film makes nary a lick of sense with scenes stopping almost as quickly as they start and a bevy of characters introduced to serve little purpose other than to get in the main characters way. The editing is often choppy to distraction, even in some of the action scenes, giving you the sense that director, Luis Llosa (Sniper, Anaconda) didn’t always have the time and money to shoot what he wanted. Erik Estrada practically sleepwalks through his role, portraying an unconvincing assassin and a rather boring leading man. He might not have been given much to work with but he could have brought a little more intensity to his role of a killer for hire.



Yet, this flick has two things to recommend it: tons of action and Robert Vaughn. You are rarely five minutes away from a fist fight or a shoot out and the flick is stuffed with car chases. There must be at least four or five in the ninety minute run time and there is even a cool scene where Vaughn plays pinball with a villain’s car against some trees in order to get information out of him. And speaking of Vaughn, he's as cool as a cucumber as the slick, though slightly over the hill, CIA agent. With shades, a leather jacket, a six shooter and a ton of attitude he always entertains when on screen. It’s also novel to see him playing the good guy for a change.

Hour of the Assassin is a hoot and not to be taken seriously. Full of action, intrigue and Robert Vaughn’s coolness; pick up a copy of this fun flick if you happen across it.

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