Written and directed by J.K. Amalou
Hired assassin Jamie bumps off a councillor for criminal duo John and Lee Alberts who have plans to expand their business in London. When Jamie accidentally gets romantically involved with the councillor’s daughter, who’s convinced the Alberts brothers are behind her father’s death, the John and Lee put a target on her head forcing Jamie to turn the tables on his former employers.
Starring Danny Dyer, ASSASSIN is a crime thriller set in the murky London underworld where corruption and bribery rule supreme. Hiring people to do your dirty work is part and parcel of the job but when those people bite the hand that feeds them, they better be watching their back for the rest of the life. This is the predicament that assassin Jamie finds himself in, but it’s not something he can just ride off into the sunset to escape.
On first appearance, Jamie (Danny Dyer) seems like a one man band. He’s not afraid of getting his hands dirty and doing the kills. However, after he takes on his final mark, he lets his emotions get in the way of his job. Falling for Chloe is the nail in the coffin as far as his safety is concerned as he makes a point of protecting the woman who he’s in love with. Unfortunately for Jamie though, his newfound girlfriend Chloe (Holly Weston) isn’t the sharpest tool in the box. Even though she’s warned that she’s a target and that she must keep her head down and lay low, she does nothing of the sort. Running around after her life a toddler loose from her reigns, Jamie has to keep cleaning up the mess that she forces upon herself by going into the open and revisiting old haunts in the Alberts brothers’ district.
It was a great choice to hire Gary and Martin Kemp as the ruthless Alberts brothers, the villains of the movie. Known for their roles as the Kray twins and for Martin’s role as Steve in Eastenders, the Kemps make the ideal gangsters and produce a simmering intensity that when unleashed can be quite intimidating. Unfortunately, Dyer’s role as Jamie isn’t as cutthroat or lethal. Though he can easily bump people off for money, he has too much of a heart to be ruthless. His approach to the kills are also a bit too conspicuous for my liking. A stealthier approach would have worked better to give a Leon-esque hitman vibe.
Overall, ASSASSIN is not as slick or as tight as it could be, leaving a less than impressive hitman thriller. The loose approach and comedic elements struggle to convince the viewer that the film is a serious feature film. Though it may have the assassin and criminal theme, the genre of the movie lies somewhere inbetween comedy, romantic drama and thriller, thus failing to keep the viewer on the edge of their seat or thoroughly entertained. It all seems a bit too light hearted overall to make a solid impact, leaving the romance and comedy moments seem more prominent than they actually are. There are a couple of memorable moments from the film though, particularly when Jamie peppers a henchman full of bullets as he’s coming through a door, screaming at him “Get art of mah harse!”. I must admit that scene did make me chortle.
As a piece of cinema, ASSASSIN is well shot, particularly the shots of Jamie riding through the streets of London on his motorcycle. A few of the kill shots are executed well too to create a shocking impact. The editing is pretty fluid and works well with the theme, but unfortunately it’s the story where the film suffers.
If British indie gangster movies are your thing, you might enjoy ASSASSIN but those looking for a gritty hitman thriller will be left unsatisfied.