In honor of Friday's release of The Expendables, we're taking a week-long look at the action films of Sir Sylvester Stallone -- which is to say we're skipping his comedies. Out of respect.

Title:Assassins (1995)

Setting: Seattle, mid-'90s. I know this because I saw the Space Needle and Stallone is wearing tortoise-shell eyeglasses.

Our hero: Burnt-out super-assassin Robert Rath.

Our villain/s: Excitable super-assassin Miguel Bain.

The stakes: It's wrath vs. bane, only spelled wrong! (Also, a pretty young Julianne Moore is involved.)

How long until our first confrontation? There's a nifty sequence involving the warring hitmen inside of a cab, but that scene arrives early, leaves quickly, and exists as probably the best action scene in the film. Unfortunately.

Line of dialogue that nails it: "Killing a woman is not the same as killing a man. You have to pull the trigger a different way." (Note: this film was written by the Wachowski siblings and Brian Helgeland, so there's really no excuse for dialogue this goofy.

Coolest display of might: Antonio Banderas carrying the whole film on his shoulders while Stallone mopes and Moore whines.

Oddest lack of consistency: That an action film directed by Richard Donner could be so dry, inert, formulaic, and boring.

Moral of the story: Assassins can't retire like normal people.

Stallone Action Scale: 5.5, and that's me being nice. For a film called Assassins, it sure feels likes a film called Conversations.

categories Cinematical