Try to envision the most generic Hitman-style action film, and begin to approach the middling horror concept of Assassin Club. Without rhyme or reason as to why an incredibly talented cast became stranded in a movie as hollow as a chocolate Easter bunny, one has to question what drew them to the project in the first place. Assassin Club is practically indiscernible from a vast array of straight-to-video action flicks flooding the market—few, if any, carry the rising star power of Henry Golding. Director Camille Delamarre, whose previous effort was the flop reboot The Transporter Refueled, revels in CGI-action, completely unnecessary slow-motion at seemingly the most random of times, and tossing in as many tropes as possible. Are you ready to join the Assassin Club?
In a plot that promises veritable Smokin’ Aces energy, contract killer Morgan (Golding) is forced to utilize every tool in his repertoire to take down fellow assassins after realizing they have each been hired to off one another. If anything, this plot and a cast that includes Golding (Crazy Rich Asians, Last Christmas), Noomi Rapace (Prometheus, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Daniela Melchior (The Suicide Squad) and Sam Neill (Jurassic Park, Peaky Blinders) should have been an easy home run. A rogues gallery of assassins and the promise of non-stop action sounds like a Jason Statham vehicle, or perhaps even Liam Neeson. Then again, it could be a swath of other action titles mixed together.
Sadly, Assassin Club carries not a single iota of fun or originality. Caldwell (Neill) is the constant voice in Morgan’s ear when he goes out for assignments, giving insights and generally being annoying. Sophie (Melchior) is the doting girlfriend who is not made privy to Morgan’s hitman life; he actually has not even met her parents. The remaining cast is all comprised of assassins that are out to kill Morgan, and take him for their own bounty. In order for a hit to count, a receipt must be made comprised of the dead person’s finger, sent to a box in Paris. So much of the setup for this film sounds great—it is only when delving into the specifics that it becomes apparent just how bland and lifeless Assassin Club truly is. Much of the acting and accents from supporting cast are, to put it nicely, not good. How can we be made to care about anything occurring when the stakes feel so low? A laughable slow-motion ambulance shoot-and-jump featuring Morgan was nearly enough to make me turn off the movie.
There was a long period of time where I spaced out watching this, and then a randomly-placed shower scene woke me up. Perhaps those simply wishing to see a hunky shirtless man (in this case, Henry Golding) prying bullets from his body, or poorly-filmed and choreographed action sequences will walk away with an appreciation for Assassin Club. For everyone else, there are far better movies out there of this same ilk. For uber violence, watch Crank instead, and for relentless fun with an ensemble cast, try Bullet Train or Netflix’s 6 Underground. Assassin Club has the nerve to even suggest a sequel that will undoubtedly never be made. Then again, stranger things have happened in the world of sequels. Destined for the bargain bin, one can only hope this global adventure has promptly been laid to rest.
Assassin Club puts out a hit on unsuspecting viewers when it targets a digital release on Tuesday, May 16th. Later, the film comes to DVD and Blu-Ray on June 6th.