Hour of the Assassin (1987) Poster

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This is the perfect example of video store shelf-filler.
Comeuppance Reviews27 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Martin Fierro (Estrada) is hired by some generals to assassinate the new president of the South American country of San Pedro, Roberto Villaverde (Giraldo). They convince him to do this by playing to his sympathies regarding his father, a man assassinated by these very same generals, although Fierro doesn't know that. According to them, his father was "leftist scum" (which they say behind Fierro's back, of course). Fierro has his work cut out for him, except for one thing: ex-CIA operative Sam Merrick (Vaughn), who is tracking Fierro and intent on stopping the assassination. It's a race against time - who will come out victorious? It's yet another "El Presidente" movie - A South America-set film about rebels in the streets versus the political establishment. This plot line was more prevalent in video stores than you might think - Cocaine Wars (1985), McBain (1991), Perfect Target (1997) and the latest example, The Expendables (2010). The plot is extremely simple - it's Vaughn chasing Estrada for over 90 minutes - so after an exciting opening chase sequence and the setup of the plot, the middle section drags heavily. It's natural that this would happen with such minimal plot. A few interestingly-lit sequences are not enough to solve this problem.

The movie does deliver some standard chases and shooting, but the roles for both Estrada and Vaughn are a little different than usual. The tone is downbeat, serious and low-key. Estrada doesn't play bad-guy assassin roles too often, and how often do you see "Control 5" himself, Robert Vaughn, at least at the age he was when he shot this movie, running around South America playing the action star? Of course, Vaughn's "hair" is odd and is constantly changing from scene to scene, and, like Chris Lemmon in Firehead (1991), whose catchphrase was the ever-present "Jesus Christ!", here Robert Vaughn utters the word "Bastard!" every other scene.

This was a Corman production, released in the U.S. in the always cool MGM/UA big-box. Director Luis Llosa shot the film in his native Peru and there are some nice locations. He later had some mainstream hits with Anaconda (1997), the Stallone vehicle The Specialist (1994) and the classic Tom Berenger Sniper (1993). He's also responsible for the Corman David Carradine film Crime Zone (1989). This was his first cinematic foray, and it's not bad, it's just standard, and even tends toward boring at times.

This is the perfect example of video store shelf-filler that, yes, has cool box art and all, but will underwhelm you. It makes true gems like Deadly Prey (1987) stand out all the more.

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A game of cat and mouse
In the political world, there are different parties duking it out for control of the country. A green beret named Fiero(Erik Estrada, Frank "Ponch" Poncherello on "CHiPs") is hired to assassinate the newly elected president of Peru. The people who hired him are the generals who killed his father 5 years ago. A CIA agent named Merrick (Robert Vaughn) is here to stop the assassination as quick as possible. Fiero knows that he is a pawn is this game. He is helped by a photographer, and knows for sure that he doesn't trust the generals behind the plot. It's all a game of "cat and mouse". Fiero with his military skills take out the ones who gets in his way. And Merrick takes out the ones who are using Fiero. Even though he is supposed to stop him. The real bad guys are the generals who used him. A lot of scenery of Peru is used for this movie. The chase scenes wasn't so bad. Though more could be put in this movie. Oh, well. What can you do? It was enough time for the assassin to strike, I wish there was more impact to this movie. Two great stars aren't enough to help. But they did provide for the movie. 2 out of 5 stars.
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"Thanks for the lift. But I get out here".
mylimbo6 December 2013
San Pedro is a South American country in turmoil, as a new president is about to be inaugurated, but the military don't want this to happen. After some failed assassination attempts, Martin Fierro, an assassin from America is hired to do the job. There's motivation behind this man, as he's convinced that the president was responsible for his father's death. American interests do not want this to happen, so an American dispatch agent (Vaughn) is assigned to eliminate Fierro.

Low-budget b-grade action exploitation with little in the way of attachment and imagination with its scheming and chase elements, but fast pacing and the presence of Robert Vaughn (who looks like he's collecting a simple pay check) makes this junk rather watchable. Vaughn an action star at this time of his career you might be questioning? When he wasn't going about things in a rather effortless manner hiding behind his shades… you gotta say it looks like he was struggling to match the psychical requirements (a lot of running) it was asking from him in certain scenes. However he passed, but it didn't look too easy. Was it dodgy editing? The cat and mouse action set-pieces are far from spectacular (thanks mainly to its minor budget, although the sequence on top of a moving train through a mountainous terrain was when it peaked), but there's dynamic energy and enough going on to keep you glued as two dangerous men (assassin and agent) go at it with knotty political conspiracies being flung about. The choppy plot is somewhat asinine and all over the place with numerous positional poses and a talky script filled political intrigue of very little interest.
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Worse than Johnny Mneumonic
c_looj29 August 2001
This movie is horribly written, horribly directed, and the action sequences, are, well...horrible. The storyline is too simplistic, and the very first actions sequence...the car chase, is the worst I've seen. I often found myself wondering where the action is, as its editing could have used a lot of work to smoothly take the viewer along for the ride, instead of switching back and forth to different angles. Its so choppy each little shot could have stood by itself. The lead character, the assassin, is supposed to be a ex-green beret, and shows no evidence of that. No cool special moves or any special skill. Any bum could have been that character, and done a better job of it too. Also, it hints at a sex scene which isn't shown, all you see is a flash of breasts as she's changing. What the hell was that for? This movie is just so disconnected and pining for action sequences it's an embarrassment to the genre. Before this I thought Johnny Mneumonic and Shanghai Killer (one of Chow Yun-Fat's early movies) were the worst action movies I'd seen. It has now reached a new low. I'd only take this tape out again to erase it. Not worth the rental, not worth the view. Should have stayed one hour, like the title says. Better yet, should have not been made at all.
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