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Assassins is a 1995 action film, directed by Richard Donner. It involves the competition between two rival assassins, one an older, veteran assassin and the other a reckless younger challenger eager to become the top assassin in the world. The main stars were Sylvester Stallone, Antonio Banderas and Julianne Moore.
The senior assassin is Robert Rath, (Stallone) a rather sober and efficient man who always gets his target while also making a point of minimizing or avoiding collateral damage. However Rath is becoming tired of the job and increasingly thinking of retirement, and whether or not the people he works for will even let him retire. The younger guy is Miguel Bain, (Banderas) who is pretty much a psychopath who turned his hobby to a profession. He is also a competitive rising star in the field and looking for ways to increase his reputation. Undermining or even killing old guys such as Rath is just one more way to do that.
The two first cross paths when they are sent after the same target. Rath tries to force a confrontation and learn who sent Bain, but Bain fights him to a stalemate and escapes. Both of them are once again sent after the same target, this time a woman called Electra (Moore), a surveillance expert and information thief. Someone is very interested in the latest files she stole. Finding himself unable to kill the woman, Rath decides to save her and retire on the spot. Too bad his retirement starts with Bain chasing both of them.
While throughout the film Rath is treated as an old man and Bain as a young punk, the ages of the actors didn't particularly help. Stallone was 49 years old, Banderas 35-years old. Part of it was the original casting ideas, called for the Rath role going to Sean Connery, Michael Douglas and/or Arnold Schwarzenegger. (At the time Connery was in his 60s, Douglas in 50s, Schwarzenegger in his 40s). Ideas for casting Bain included Tom Cruise and Christian Slater. (Again, at the time Cruise was in his early 30s, Slater in his 20s).
The main scriptwriters, Larry and Andy Wachowski, ended up protesting several changes in their script, which they felt made the final product too different from what they had conceived. This did not prevent them from selling to the same producer, Joel Silver, a second script they had completed alongside Assassins. "The Matrix" would not be ready for release until 1999. While not a critical hit, the Assassins was a modest commercial hit. It earned about $83,506,268 in the International market. With about 30 million from the United States market, it was the 59th most successful film of its year.
- Badass: Both assassins.
- Bad Habits: Bain dresses as a priest.
- Chekhov's Gun: Rath's former partner, jasmine, the sunglasses...
- The Chessmaster: Both Rath and Bain are being manipulated by their employer. Who is an old friend of Rath's that Rath believes he killed long ago.
- Come with Me If You Want to Live
- Contract on the Hitman: Rath carries out one of these early in the movie, leading him to suspect that he won't just be allowed to retire. He's right.
- Deliberately Bad Example: Bain in comparison to Rath.
- Fake-Out Make-Out: Two Interpol agents, guarding a room where their colleagues are setting up a sting operation to try to catch Electra, do this but they can't fool Miguel, who plugs them both (as well as a hotel maid who witnesses the killings) and then confiscates their ID's and weapons.
- Faking the Dead: Rath's old partner, Nikolai.
- Gunpoint Banter: Justified as Rath and Bain are talking in a stolen taxi with a sheet of bulletproof glass between them. And Bain still tries to shoot Rath anyway, just in case the glass isn't tough enough.
- History Repeats: Taken almost to extremes.
- Hitman with a Heart: Rath, but not Bain.
- Hot-Blooded: Miguel Bain.
- Meaningful Name: Rath, Bane... er, Bain, and Electra.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: You probably don't want to get involved with a guy named Rath or a girl named Electra who apparently cares more about her cat than men.
- Not My Driver: Rath uses a stolen taxi to pull this on Bain, but he realizes what's happening just in time.
- Older Hero vs. Younger Villain
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Miguel kills Rath's boss/partner because he wants to be "Number 1" and for this, he has to kill Rath himself. It doesn't work.
- Professional Killer: If you couldn't tell from the title.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Bain and Rath, both assassins, but with wildly different mannerisms and temperaments.
- Resignations Not Accepted
- Russian Guy Suffers Most: Rath's former partner. Subverted.
- Surveillance as the Plot Demands: Electra keeps surveillance of every room in her apartment block. Not that any users are aware of it.
- Survivor Guilt: Rath has this regarding the death of Nikolai.
- That's What I Would Do: Rath can anticipate some of Bain's moves because it's just what he would have done. (Or did).
- This is also because Bain has a thing for reproducing old assassinations, including one he got from Roman history.
- Unknown Rival: Miguel Bain.
- Unwitting Pawn: Both Rath and Bain are being manipulated by their employer, Rath's old friend Nikolai.