is killing Europe’s top Islamist terrorists.
This is a problem for American intelligence bureaucrats, because it
makes them look bad. The vigilante has
taken out priority targets they could not even find and therefore must be
stopped, post-haste. That assignment
falls to a former FBI agent assigned to America’s Bulgarian embassy in Isaac
Florentine’s Assassin’s Bullet (trailer here), which opens this
Friday in New York.
wracked with guilt over his wife’s death, Robert Diggs is taking a timeout from
life in Bulgaria. Happy overseeing on
in-country educational initiatives, Diggs is reluctant to get back into
investigative work. However, Ambassador
Ashdown is a political appointee very aware he is in over his head and in need
of Diggs’ services. Reluctantly, Diggs
starts tracking the vigilante, who is obviously also the English teacher at the
Embassy-sponsored high school, as well as the belly dancer who has been
come-hither dancing for Diggs at his favorite night club.
good news about Bullet is that it has
no tears for the vigilante’s prey. Her
motivation is clear: terrorists murdered her family. Had they lived, her targets would have only spread
more death and misery. It even
unambiguously associates the keffiyeh scarf with terrorism, which makes it a
pretty dumb choice of accessory for Diggs during the climatic third act. The bad news is a spoiler that will not be
much of a surprise: there is some shadowy villainy going on at the highest
levels of the American diplomatic-intelligence services.
Bullet isn’t really a great movie,
but it is sort of a shame you can hardly see serviceable B-movies like this in
the theaters very much anymore. Back in
the day, this totally would have been worth a trip to the drive-in or the
bargain cinema. In fact, on a technical
level, Bullet is a surprisingly
polished production. Florentine
stage-manages a couple of nifty little fight scenes. Of course, that is his specialty, having
previously helmed the Scott Adkins Undisputed
series and the Power Rangers, for both the big and small screens (don’t
scoff at that gig, they don’t entrust important franchises like that to
hacks). Shot on location, Florentine
made the most of the exotic Sofia sites and cinematographer Ross W. Clarkson
gives it all a moody, mysterious sheen.
real mixed bag here is the cast.
Christian Slater is more or less okay as the earnest Diggs and
co-scenarist Elika Portnoy is sort of, kind of okay as the mystery woman. At least, Donald Sutherland does not
disappoint doing his stately roguish thing as the Ambassador. Yet, the high point might be Timothy Spall, clearly
enjoying the ambiguity of the friendly but inscrutable Dr. Kahn, a part that would
have had Donald Pleasance’s name all over it in years past.
As it happens, Bullet’s DVD release is already scheduled to follow hard on the
heels of its New York opening. Make of
that what you will. Frankly, it ought to
find an audience through more affordable means of distribution. It is not classic, but some considerable
filmmaking talent went into it (most definitely including the contributions of
Florentine, Clarkson, and Spall).
Eventually recommended for B-movie lovers at B-movies prices, Assassin’s Bullet opens this Friday
(8/3) in New York at the Cinema Village.
Labels: Donald Sutherland, Isaac Florentine, Terrorism in film, Timothy Spall