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Review: 'Four Assassins' shoots itself in the foot

Four contract assassins in a hotel room. Airless and improbable, the tale does itself in.

October 18, 2012|By Robert Abele
  • A scene from "Four Assassins."
A scene from "Four Assassins." (Handout )

The listless "Four Assassins" operates under the assumption that a mostly one-location movie (a hotel room) is instantly interesting if it's populated by a quartet of contract killers.

Writer-director Stanley J. Orzel believes other things too: that a female assassin (Mercedes Renard) would break down in tears over an ex-boyfriend in front of her icemen colleagues; that people are more alluring if they talk in clich├ęs ("I was never afraid of death," "You still don't get it, do you?"); and that it's funny to repeatedly run over someone with a car.

Maybe you'll be persuaded that a lean, fast figure like Will Yun Lee, after vigorously grappling with a brawny nemesis (Oliver Williams), would be cowed by Miguel Ferrer's weary veteran assassin holding a gun. Perhaps you'll mourn for Ferrer's Eli when he talks of his cancer-stricken wife, after having watched him wax nostalgic over old crimes.

It's even possible nobody from the hotel would ever check in on the sounds of breaking glass, fighting and shouting. Maybe that's because they, like anyone who watches this film, simply couldn't be bothered to care about what's happening.

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"Four Assassins." No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes. At Laemmle's NoHo 7, North Hollywood.

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