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REVIEW: The Assignment (2017) – ManlyMovie

REVIEW: The Assignment (2017)

Run Time: 95 Mins
Rated: R
What To Expect: A depressing and awkward movie, not one of Hill’s best

When this movie and its synopsis was announced, the first thing that came to mind was that it was going to be a propaganda movie; a movie about a transgender man owning assailants.  But it was only when the uproar started from ‘progressives’ that I knew it wasn’t going to be political here nor there.  It’s just another Walter Hill movie that so happens to use the above description as a plot device.  But it’s probably one of his worst movies.

The movie focuses on multi-tiered revenge.  First, hitman Jack Kitchen (Michelle Rodriguez) kills off the pissant brother of ‘The Doctor’ (Sigourney Weaver).  ‘The Doctor’ is a highly skilled surgeon who is conducting illegal operations of human subjects for big cash, but when she finds out her brother has been killed, she sets out to destroy the life of Kitchen by turning him transgender.

Aside from killing her brother, The Doctor does not like Kitchen, the hero, and denounces the fact that he is a ‘macho man’ who indulges in murderous activity and ‘revels in his masculinity’ (probably a MM reader?).  The best way to get revenge would be to castrate him and have him wake up with a pair of fake tits and tanked up on estrogen.  Of course, Kitchen is not best pleased and starts ramping up the body count, leading back to The Doctor herself.

The film is dark, dreary and depressing.  Most of it is shot at night (it’s Walter Hill) but also in ultra cheap locations and with a story and theme that is unsure of itself.  One of the problems is that pre-operation, Frank Kitchen does not look like a man, it looks like Michelle Rodriguez with a fake beard (and some other parts I would’ve rather not have seen).  She can’t hide her femininity… the same goes after the operation, it’s still a lady trying to act somewhat like a man… often with Rodriguez’s trademark sour demeanour.

I maintain that this movie is not political and instead simply reflects a fact of life.  Later in the movie, Kitchen enquires about reversing the surgery and we have a conversation with another doctor about regret.  There is nothing biased about this, transgender persons have a 41% suicide rate compared to 4% of the net population.

I won’t watch this movie again though because it’s simply too dull and lacking direction.  RoboCop is another movie about a man being robbed of anatomy and dignity, it had heart.  In the TV show ‘Lost’, John Locke had an organ stolen… that was a powerful story.

This one isn’t – and here is probably the worst problem.  The Doctor pretty much wins, because the damage inflicted on Kitchen early in the movie is something that he never truly gets even for and no amount of killing gives us a feeling of bad guys paying.  This, along with the dreary look and acting, is why I feel unsatisfied.  I don’t want to watch it again.

Oh by the way, Rodriguez is naked a lot in this movie.