Rookie Cleveland detective Michael Connelly is desperate to escape from under the shadow of his late father, a detective convicted of a drug scandal within the department when Michael was a boy. When a million dollars' worth of drugs are stolen from police custody and the detective on the case soon turns up dead, Michael begs his captain for the assignment and the chance to prove himself. But when his investigation points toward a crime network, Michael faces pressure to maintain the status quo as he plays a cat-and-mouse game with the powers that be, while under the watchful eye of a ghost-like assassin ensuring their secrecy.
The Assassin's Code (2018) is not a bad film, for direct-to-video fare. The major beats are predictable well in advance. The heroes, villains and villains in the guise of heroes might as well be wearing black and white Stetsons and the characters who are about to die might as well be wearing red shirts. Production values are modest, although they do utilize an elegant mansion, casket and several luxury automobiles. Cinematography is unimaginatve, other than a few aerial shots that seem to be stock images. As is typical of low-budget productions, the film relies heavily on jiggly-cam shots which are distracting and shatter willful suspension of disbelief. The action/stunt choreography, car scenes and gunfights seem about thirty years out of date. The love story is not well developed and the reconciliation near the end seems to come out of nowhere. The acting is generally pretty good. Justin Chatwin is credible in the lead and Peter Stormare delivers a nuanced performance. Sprinkled throughout the film are little gems of dialogue and characterization that shine against the unimpressive background. While the film employs a lot of tropes and often seems familiar, it offers a few fresh moments. The damsel in distress scene has a unusual twist.
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