Ray Quick is a bomb expert who worked for the CIA along with a guy named Ned Trent, who's extremely demented. When they have a falling out, Ray becomes a freelancer who lives off the grid. A woman named May Munro contacts and wants him to kill the three men who killed her family years ago, who work for the Leon crime family. Ray does it and after killing the first one, the Leons need to find the one who did it and it turns out Ned is now working for them and they task him with finding the bomber. The Leons get him to work with the police and he looks for the bomber. In the meantime Ray, while working on getting the others, can't help but follow May wherever she goes. Written by
A terrible 'action' film that is more accidentally humorous than seriously suspenseful.
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.
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