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Hey, I enjoy a good revenge movie as well as the next guy, even though
I know forgiveness is the better way. Revenge films satisfy base urges
in all of us. But, holy smokes, this crosses the line a little bit with
the glorification of such....at least with the ending (which I won't
give away but involves Sharon Stone's character).
Along the way is a fun ride as the revenge-obsessed Stone hires Sylvester Stallon (The Specialist, a term for his bomb-making talents) to kill all the people responsible for her parents' murder years earlier.
The villains are over-the-top, to say the least. One almost has to laugh out loud at one of them: James Woods. Few people in his era (70s and 80s mainly) were better at playing despicable villains than Woods, and in this film he plays that role to the hilt. He also rattles off the best line in the movie when he tells some tourist to "get a new shirt, too."
The other villains are played by Eric Roberts and Rod Steiger. Roberts is nasty and arrogant all the way and Steiger - as he has so often since the 1970s - appears cartoonish in his over-acting.
The film moves quickly which means it's very entertaining and some of the bombing scenes are quite memorable, such as a chunk of a condo building falling into the ocean.
Even though the villains are really nasty, there are no "good guys" here, either. Everyone is seriously flawed, as is the message of the film. I guess this is one of those "guilty pleasure" movies they talk about, because I still enjoy watching it every five or so years.
* 1/2 out of ****
Arguably Sylvester Stallone's last box office hit (unless you count Cop Land), The Specialist is not the typical Stallone testosterone fest. In fact, it remains a fairly atmospheric thriller revolving around obsession and revenge. But it's not as interesting as it may sound, thanks to the generally lackluster script and mostly unlikeable characters.
Stallone plays Ray Quick, an ex-bomb specialist who works for hire. After the movie's requisite prologue, he's in Miami working for May Munro (Sharon Stone), who wants him to kill three mobsters, especially the head mobster's son, Tomas (Eric Roberts), because they murdered her parents when she was a little girl. Quick contacts her only by phone, they are to never meet, but he's admittedly intrigued by her and vice versa. However, she's actually working for Ned Trent (James Woods), Quick's former colleague who's out for revenge.
Action fans expecting bombastic and over-the-top action sequences should steer clear, this movie will be too sluggish for them. The Specialist has no desire to function as a typical Stallone actioner. There are no large-scale gun battles, fisticuffs, or car chases. In fact, I gather Stallone received the role purely on the basis of his box office clout (and perhaps also his ability to brood and act generally depressed fairly well).
So what is The Specialist, then? Is it a thriller? Yeah, sort of, there are a few suspenseful moments, mostly pertaining to Stallone using his bombs to knock off the mobsters. Surprisingly enough, the twist of having the hero kill the bad guys with explosives (Speed and Blown away came out the same year) works well enough, mostly because the villains' impending doom bears a certain inevitability that plays to the movie's advantage.
But there's little else about the movie worth recommending. The story doesn't make much sense; as soon as it's revealed Roberts' murdered Stone's parents when she was a child, I scratched my head in confusion. He couldn't possibly be more than a year or two older than Stone, meaning he committed the murders when he was about, what, ten or eleven? More likely, it appears the filmmakers are trying to pass off Stone as a twenty-year old bombshell. Sure, Stone looks great (and I do mean great) in this film, but she can't even pass for thirty.
The romance is unsurprisingly perfunctory and generic. As soon as the hero and heroine meet, they almost immediately tear their clothes off and go at it. This is neither romantic nor sexy, even with the undeniably hot Sharon Stone as part of this tryst. I've always kind of liked Stallone, subpar an actor as he may be. He's always had a fairly commandable screen presence, though he has yet to translate that to genuine charisma (which is what puts him considerably behind that other big lug, Arnold Scwarzenegger).
Neither suspenseful nor exciting enough to recommend, The Specialist is of little interest to anyone except for Stallone and Stone fans (and maybe James Wood fans, who will either delight or wince at his maniacally over-the-top performance). I'm still waiting for Stallone to revive his career with a big-budget action blockbuster, but I don't see it happening. Hey, I'm one of the few guys out there who actually liked D-Tox, so I wouldn't necessarily say his career has gone down the drain.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Specialist may not be great cinema, but it does offer some good
bang-bang explosives action and also some interesting characters.
Sly Stallone is a former CIA-attached Army explosives expert, Raymond Quick, skilled at focus detonations that blow up certain areas while leaving surrounding areas unharmed. In 1984 he and his partner, Ned Trent, must blow up a bridge frequented by a Columbian drug lord, but a civilian bus enters as the explosives are set to go off. When Trent callously goes through with the mission, Ray disarms the bombs, then beats up Trent before having him discharged from the Agency.
Ten years later Trent now works as security chief for a Miami mafia chief who years earlier had a former underling named Munro killed - in front of the man's daughter, May. May Munro now wants her parents' killers blown up, and she wants Ray Quick for the job. Ray is initially reluctant, believing it to be a setup, but eventually accepts, and starts blowing up the three thugs responsible one by one.
But it is a setup - May Munro is in reality working for Trent, who is using her very real desire for revenge to smoke out Ray. Quick, though, is too smart for Trent's traps - until Ray and May's passion heats up ad Trent gets the break he needs to finish off the both of them.
The film's highlights are James Woods' over-the-top performance, the explosion scenes, and also John Barry's haunting score, fleshed out by Gloria Estefan's garish cover of Vicki Sue Robison's 1970s disco classic "Turn The Beat Around."
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie is, apart from the film music, as a whole a must-see for action movie lovers with erotic scenes, built in smoothly. The double role of May makes the movie richer: there IS a plot possible in these kind of movies!. Action abound and well distributed over the time. Eric Roberts and James Woods play their roles at the same high level as Sylvester Stallone and Sharon Stone.I see originality, in the sense of action: the highly developed explosive devices-do hey really exist?CIA will know.. A flaw ,which i do not understand up to now, is that the getaway boat from M&M seafood seemed to be so readily available. The goofy trick with the telephone in the Fontainebleu Hptel as well, but those are not disturbing details. The movie has a steady pace and ends with the Miami Sound Machine!. Best scene is of course , the intimate scene in the hotel. Superb entertainment! A 9. Will see it again.
Although Stallone was already a big budget Hollywood star with many a
title under his belt with Sharon Stone who also had a few films (most
noticeably 'Basic Instinct') going for her and James Woods, again, with
some reasonably successful outings (most notably in my opinion a
'Simpsons' episode), 'The Specialist' fails to live up to its talent
hype and attempt as a film noir come action film.
What struck me upon looking this film up after seeing it was the director. He'd had hardly any experience previous to this film and thinking back to the film itself; it's no wonder it really turned out the way it did. A big budget and a big cast with a screenplay that wasn't terrible probably demanded a bigger and better director. I could kick around a few names like 'John Woo' but I won't get too into that.
Fatally, The Specialist doesn't do right what it's supposed to do right. The camera work is bad (I actually spotted one instance of camera shake in this film), the fight scenes are poorly choreographed and badly executed, the dialogue is a bit iffy at best and is rather clichéd at times and the stereotypes of Colombian drug lords are laughable. With the action scenes, the extras just sit up waiting to be hit and are poorly put together in a way that you can see Stallone's next move as he wins the punch-up from a beaten position. The dialogue put across via the recorded phone messages feels forced and they snap back at one another too quickly. The character played by Rod Stieger is a little too stereotypical and his pronunciation of the word 'you' like 'jew' can only be taken seriously for so long before a serious scene involving intense dialogue is broken up by a smirk here and there.
What makes the film also rather cheesy is the editing at some points. Early on in the film, a character threatens Stallone at knife point and asks him a question. Cut to a reaction shot of a silent Stallone and immediately, the character asks the question again not even giving Stallone the time it takes to blink to reply. This was very noticeable and good editing, as they say, is un-noticeable. One other incident is where Stallone sneaks up on a pistol wielding guard during a hotel evacuation and knocks him out from behind in the lobby area. We keep on the same camera and pan as he runs away. From this, we see that for the entire time, people (extras) have been running right past, merely feet from the assault and don't even batter an eyelid at what just happened as Stallone runs off in the OPPOSITE direction.
Every action film has its effects and this films' was poor. The blatant blue screen effect of the water getting closer and closer via the window as the suite breaks off the side of the hotel and falls to the sea as a guy waves frantically at the camera crashing towards him without trying to get away really brought out a long shake of the head from me. The fact when one of the bombs went off in the room, one guy fell down before the other was also laughable. These are the action scenes of the film and should be suspenseful and nerve-wracking not humorous, instead.
If you're looking for a decent Stallone action-based film from the mid-nineties, avoid this and see 'Assassins' instead. That film's particularly large cast rivals this one and the direction and script are a lot better.
Although I'm not really a Sly-fan I found this movie highly entertaining and
it made me laugh quite a lot. I totally agree with the comment of bensonl
who, in my opinion understands the value of entertainment. Right you are,
mate! I think it's silly to look for a good plot (is there one?) in an
action flick like this.
Anyway, who cares? If you're in for a plot go see 'Usual Suspects', I'd say.
By the way, if you're being led by all the negative comments, you'll miss the chance of (yet again) seeing Sharon without clothes.....mmmm! 8 out of 10 to push up the score.
I know, if you read some of the other comments people have posted, they say that The Specialist is just a lame action movie. Well, they're wrong. IT WAS A GREAT ACTION MOVIE. But then again, what else would you expect from Sylvester Stallone, the most entertaining actor in history. Sly stars as an ex-CIA agent who is hired by a mysterious women (Sharon Stone)to blow up the men who murdered her parents. The explosions are awesome, and the fight scenes are great too. Sly and Sharon both give great performances, and so does James Woods. Woods plays a phsychotic hired gun with a personel vendetta against Sly. All in all, The Specialist was a very entertaining movie. But don't take my word for it, go see it for yourself. Trust me, you won't be disappionted.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Sylvester Stallone is without doubt still in shape, and if you have previously enjoyed watching him on screen, you will surely like him on this movie. Sharon Stone is also a good choice to play the girl, since her and Stallone have good chemistry on the film. The mutual attraction on both characters is divinely shown by the two actors. Although a lot of people didn't seem to enjoy this film, or even think of it as "acceptable" this movie is actually quite amusing. It is mostly to divert yourself for a while, so don't expect a big film with deep dialogues. But if what you're looking for is to have a good time without having to think too much, this is what you want, since it is indeed an agreeable way to entertain yourself.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As others have mentioned, James Woods is the only really entertaining
this film has. Even a good dosage of Sharon Stone in the nude cannot
this film above the level of crappola.
The plot isn't worth commenting on. You just have a vengeful woman (Stone) hiring Sly Stallone to blow up a crime family who killed her parents when she was a child. By the way, does anyone else find it totally ridiculous that Stone's character is a child when her parents are killed by Eric Roberts & co., but now she's supposed to be all grown up and he still looks the same? Totally laughable.
Anyway, just watch James Woods do what he does best. He goes way over the top with his portrayal of a former colleague of Stallone (in the CIA I think) now trying to help mob boss Rod Steiger hunt him down. Woods easily steals every scene he's in. He looks like he's having a blast with the corny dialogue.
My favorite scene:
Woods and some hit men are on their way up to Sly's hotel room to waste him. About four of them jump on an elevator, and just before the door is about to close, a couple of senior citizens try to get on with them. The man is wearing a god-awful brightly colored shirt, and woods not only tells him and his wife to get lost, but also insults him about his shirt! You can just tell Woods ad-libbed the line about the shirt just as the doors were closing on the old couple. Truly hilarious!
The rest of the film besides Woods is terrible. Stallone never knew how to say no to a bad film, and that is why his career has bottomed out. Stone bounced back with a big role in Casino the following year. Woods is also in that one, and once again, he steals every scene. At least Casino was good, though!
The Specialist is worth about 4 of 10 stars.
So sayeth the Hound.
An entertaining film. The 30% of people who voted 1, 2, or 3 have no sense of what entertainment is! I guess they think the "Postman" or the "English Patient" are better films! But they have to be the most boring ever!
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