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Drama - Crime

The Assignment (2016)

Duration1h 35mRating (UK)15
Source of storyAn original screenplay
DirectorWalter Hill
Writers/ScriptWalter Hill, Denis Hamill
StarringMichelle Rodriguez, Tony Shalhoub, Anthony LaPaglia, Caitlin Gerard, Sigourney Weaver,

Elevator Pitch: When assassin for hire, Frank Kitchen, kills the brother of a mad but brilliant plastic surgeon, she has him kidnapped and in an act of revenge operates on him, changing his gender from male to female. She afterwards claims while being interrogated that this was a social experiment. But Frank, now a woman, starting at the bottom of the chain kills everyone involved in his/her reassignment, with the assistance of a nurse with whom she had had a one night stand when she was a man. It could be said that the surgeon’s social experiment has failed but when they meet again how will it end?

Content: Apparently there is a shot of male genitalia, but I missed it. However one could hardly miss Frank as a woman since a lot of nudity is required. The film is conducted mainly in flashback, with the mad surgeon in a strait jacket being interviewed by a psychiatrist. Frank is also required to do some voice-over, since she also does some speech to camera. Once the revenge is being enacted she kills many people with two hand guns. There are a few drawings of scenes in the style of Sin City, to emphasise the comic content.

A View: This movie has a terrific cast list with a director who I admire at the helm, but it failed at the first fence. While Michelle Rodriguez can to macho as well as anyone, giving her a beard which made her look like an aspiring Eurovision contestant, did not work, although The Women Film Critic Circle Awards nominated her for “Courage in Acting”. There were protests from the transgender community and it was not extensively reviewed after release, garnering only 34% on Rotten tomatoes. On an estimated budget of $5 million it returned about $400,00. So in summary, this is a B movie which has failed, so not really a watch even for nothing.

Additional Info: Walter Hill had become involved with the script in 1978, originally written by Denis Hamill, which was virtually that used by Pedro Almodova in “The Skin I Live In”.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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