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Seeking vengeance, Frank heads for a showdown with the person (Sigourney Weaver) who transformed him, a brilliant surgeon with a chilling agenda of her own.
The red flags are raised from the start as Sigourney Weaver, suggesting a wax museum Hannibal Lecter, is introduced in a straitjacket playing a calculating, Shakespeare-quoting mental ward patient and disgraced reconstructive surgeon who exacted a decidedly unorthodox retribution on the guy responsible for taking a hit out on her brother.
That would be the snarling Frank Kitchen (Michelle Rodriguez, initially outfitted with unconvincing facial hair and prosthetics), who regains consciousness in a sleazy motel room to make the shocking discovery that he’s no longer a he.
is a project that he has apparently spent 40 years developing, but it feels more like something that should have been made all those decades ago rather than a project that needed time to percolate.
Yet there’s something charmingly sleazy about this absolutely batshit insane project as well, criticizing itself through a fantastically evil performance by Sigourney Weaver in a way that suggests a certain level of self-aware camp in addition to cheap thrills.
Much of the plot is dolled out through Weaver’s villainess being prodded by psychiatrist Tony Shalhoub in a mental institution. is a film that is at once self-aware and somewhat lost.
Weaver’s performance is as coldly controlled as it is hysterically arch, toying with her persona and tossing in a little Dr. She’s the best part of the film and her character’s amusingly absurd obsession with classic literature leads her to delivering a few rants about the importance of separating stories from politics in a manner that feels like Hill preaching and partially apologizing. Hill uses plenty of the comic book frame scene transitions that he added to his director’s cut of The Warriors to both acknowledge the comic book roots of the film (he published a graphic novel before production) as well as insist that this is all fictitious pulp not meant to be take too seriously.
It’s clear the guy still has chops as a filmmaker, which makes the scenes when the movie departs into inexplicable insanity even more head-scratching.
There’s a chance that the joke is on us and in a few years Assignment will play like self-aware camp released in an era too sensitive to notice. I sure as hell won’t be able to scrape whatever the hell this was from my mind any time soon.
(You can read Phil’s full review here.) The film was originally called, which seems destined to lure in a lot of people who have no idea what they’re getting into. release date, but for now, you can check out the trailer and get your cringe on below.
It’s offensive and rude and inconsiderate, but as someone who grew up fascinated with exploitation cinema, the Marquis de Sade, and the tradition of crass, crude provocateurs, I have a soft spot for such purely insane and uncompromising trash.