Review: Rogue Assassin (War)

A mildly diverting but otherwise forgettable ‘dumb movie’.

If the hectic start to the year has left you feeling stressed and frazzled, consider unwinding with Rogue Assassin. It’s drivel. But the question is: if a film is marketed as drivel, is produced as drivel, and is received by the audience as drivel, does that really make it drivel? Is its very drivelness the saving grace? No matter the drivility of this film, it might hold a few ironic pleasures to the smug seen-it-all viewer or to the idiot who will christen this an ‘awsum movi’. Because there’s something strangely satisfying about seeing a film where everyone including the filmmakers (we hope) is aware of how ludicrous their product is.

As far as hand-to-hand combat goes, Rogue Assassin delivers. A bit of swordfighting here and there is most welcome. On the other hand, the shootouts are disturbing. You’ll lose count of how many flunkies lost their lives to a bullet. How can Jason Statham still be the good guy if he’s no better than a sociopathic killer?

Statham is good for this role, even if his accent is a strange mid-Atlantic concoction. Jet Li is still the worst actor in the movies, but fun to watch for that same reason. Then there’s the poorly-cast Chinese Triad gang leader who hardly even looks Chinese.

The women in this film are all unattractive, in the sense that they are intended to excite the audience but are let down by their blandness and sex-object-ness. They are boring creatures – assisting the men, cowering with children, getting shot, or prostituting themselves seems all they’re good for.

The ending is terrible – quite possibly the most underwhelming ludicrous ending in the history of cinema. A quick fade out, and the audience are still scratching their heads and saying ‘What?’

Rogue Assassin is recommended to all those too young to know better, and to those who want to unwind with a non-taxing, instantly forgettable distraction.