Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Assassin - 1986

Terminator came out in 1984, and ignited the genre of robots killing people, which was something that sold like hot cakes for a little while there.  Do hot cakes actually sell well?  I guess they apparently do, though I'm an waffle guy myself.  So, Terminator.  Another word for Terminator might be, oh I dunno....Killer?  Oh I know, Assassin!  Yes, what I'm getting at is that this is another rip-off of Terminator.  A made for TV rip off.

Robert Conrad stars as retired secret agent Henry Stanton, who is of course going to come out of retirement for one last mission in Assassin.  Sandor Stern, director of legendary made for TV Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes (obviously I'm kidding about the legendary status of that) directs this low-fi, pretty cheap rethought of Terminator.  

I just looked at the "also known as" section there on IMDB, and I do have to love some of these:
Brazil: RobĂ´ Assassino
Denmark: RoboKill
Poland: Golem
West Germany: Special Terminator CIA
Okay, Robokill and Robot Assassin make sense, sure.  Golem...well, it is the name of one fairly minor character, but I guess, yeah okay why not.  Then, Special Terminator CIA?  Wha? Sorry, but why "Special" Terminator?  Does he need those special education classes?  And is that title in the correct order?  Shouldn't it be "Special CIA Terminator" or "CIA's Special Terminator"?  Hell, I don't even know anymore.

This is going back to the Sci Fi Invasion boxset.  I don't normally just dial up made for TV copycats of Terminator to watch around Christmas time.  But this year I decided to forgo the holiday themed horror movies, and watch this instead.  

This movie wasn't especially bad.  It takes the Terminator idea and approaches it more from a cop drama angle.  Not that it's especially a drama, it's just that this is not an action adventure like Terminator.  Obviously, this one has far less effects as well, as well as a change in pacing. In Assassin, a robot created from the government gets loose and starts to kill people.  There is a list of people that the government knows about, which the robot is following, so they know where it will strike next.  They recruit our retiree agent Henry Stanton, and he helps them out to try and get the robot before it can kill everyone.

There's a twist or two on the way, but in general this movie plays about how you'd expect.  It's okay, in other words.  It's not gonna redefine movies or anything, but if it was 1986 and nothing else was on TV, I would probably have watched it.  It amps up he dialogue rather than the action, and it requires a bit more from you as the audience than the classic with Arnold Schwarzenegger.  But hey, you know, it is what it is?

It did make me wonder if you took more sci fi movies, and translated them into human stories.  Take for example, Alien or something.  Now, change everything that makes it a science fiction horror movie, and ground it in reality.  You could still make the movie, but the alien would be like a psychotic killer, and it would have to take place somewhere cool and creepy like an abandoned warehouse.  That movie sounds pretty dope actually.

I give it a very average 3 stars, in the end.  

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