'I for one would have been more invested in Charlie if she’d been a labradoodle' Golan-Globus Productions

As I write this, I’ve been back at Cambridge less than 48 hours and I feel that I have already settled back into student life, by which I mean I was watching Netflix at 3am last night. Fear not, it was all for a good cause: the Film and Television editor had sent me Assassination to watch so you don’t have to.

Assassination (1987) features Charles Bronson as secret service agent Jay Killian, who has been assigned to protect the President’s wife, Lara Royce Craig (played by Bronson’s real-life wife Jill Ireland). Their relationship begins tumultuously; the First Lady isn’t taking any of Killy’s condescension and she apparently considers herself more qualified to survive any possible attacks than her highly trained companion. Yet, as the attempts on her life increase, she ceases to dismiss Killy’s concerns and together they journey across the country to evade the assassins.

“The film was let down by poor scripting, poor acting, and poor effects”

The plot wasn’t actually that bad – the developing relationship between the First Lady and her protector had scope in the simultaneous softening of her arrogant feminism and his chauvinism – but the film was let down by poor scripting, poor acting, and poor effects. The assassination attempts seemed to be an excuse for as many extensive explosions and bike stunts as possible, and the chase scene was somehow the least exciting part of the entire film.

Jill Ireland’s Lara was supposedly born in Wyoming, but she doesn’t sound like she’s even been to America, let alone lived there. This is an inexcusable lack of effort on Ireland’s part, but otherwise I quite liked her as Lara. Bronson was merely passable as Killy. In his defence, he didn’t have much to work with script-wise, particularly in his scenes with sombre Charlotte Chang. Something was lacking from the Golden-Globe-winning star. It almost felt like he knew the film would fail so didn’t bother trying.

If you do watch this film, I would advise skipping forward any time Charlotte Chang (Jan Gan Boyd) opens her mouth. I can’t decide if I blame Boyd or screenwriter Richard Sale for this, but her lines are the most cringe-worthy I think I’ve ever had the misfortune of hearing. She’s like an over-eager schoolgirl who fancies her teacher, trying desperately to sound sexy but just ending up sounding, well, desperate.

At the start of the film Killy ignores her advances but, naturally, not for long – soon she’s even talking about their marriage like it’s a done deal! Killy’s other sidekick Tyler was alright, but the film would have done far better without Chang. In fact, they should have replaced her with a puppy – the character would  at least have had more energy. I, for one, would have been more invested in Charlie if she’d been a labradoodle, anyway.

Assassination isn’t the worst movie I’ve ever seen, but I wouldn’t waste my time on it again

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