Assassin's Bullet: Film Review
Christian Slater, Donald Sutherland, Timothy Spall, Erika Portnoy
A retired FBI agent goes after a mysterious killer in exotic Bulgaria in this pro forma action thriller.
The wigmakers gets a workout in Assassin’s Bullet, a B-movie thriller mainly notable by its schizophrenic female lead character’s varying hair pieces. Starring Christian Slater as a former FBI agent, it does provide an impressive travelogue of Bulgaria’s capital city of Sofia, even if it won’t exactly promote tourism.
Slater plays Robert Diggs, who left the agency after the death of his wife who was killed when he attempted to stop a random crime in progress. Now stationed in Bulgaria as a cultural attaché, he’s recruited back to his former profession by the U.S. ambassador (Donald Sutherland) when a mysterious female assassin starts offing Islamic jihadists before we have a chance to get to them.
Along the way, we’re introduced to Vicki (Elika Portnoy, who also devised the story), a schoolteacher still deeply disturbed by her childhood witnessing of her parents’ death at the hands of a suicidal terrorist. The memories come rushing back every time she happens to see an Arabic headdress, which is pretty often, so she seeks treatment from a psychiatrist (Timothy Spall) who also happens to be friends with Robert.
It isn’t hard to figure out that Vicki is the killer despite her different hair color, nor that she is also Ursula, the beautiful nightclub belly dancer whose burgeoning romance with Robert starts to lift him out of his doldrums.
Veteran direct-to-DVD action director Isaac Florentine attempts to energize the proceedings with exotic visual flourishes, but his efforts are defeated by the endlessly talky, convoluted script which aspires to psychological depth. The action sequences are strictly pro forma and -- despite the sleek killer’s resemblance to the similarly lethal heroine of La Femme Nikita -- this dull effort lacks the excitement generated by any of its incarnations.
Slater (who’s starring in yet another action pic, Soldiers of Fortune, opening on the same day) goes through his predictable paces in professional fashion, while Sutherland and Spall are seemingly on hand just to lend some respectability to the enterprise.
Opens: Friday, Aug. 3 (Arc Entertainment)
Production: XLrator Media, Mutressa Movies
Cast: Christian Slater, Donald Sutherland, Timothy Spall, Erika Portnoy
Director: Isaac Florentine
Screenwriters: Hans Feuersinger, Nancy L. Babine
Producer: David E. Ornston
Director of photography: Ross Clarkson
Editor: Irit Raz
Production designer: Valya Mladenova
Costume designer: Irina Kocheva
Music: Simon Stevens
Rated R, 91 min.