Picks and Pans Review: Assassination

updated 02/02/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 02/02/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

...as in character, plot, career. Maybe this sorry Charles Branson vehicle won't hurt his future as a box office draw, but it won't help. He plays a veteran Secret Service man assigned to protect a post-Nancy Reagan First Lady from an implausible assassination plot based on—get this—the President's impotence. Branson simply goes through the motions, foiling attempt after pedestrian attempt with quick reflexes and a tired stare. There is plenty of character nondevelopment as Branson travels cross-country trading insults with the First Lady, bitchily played by Branson's real-life wife, Jill Ireland, who struggles vainly to conceal her British accent. Along for the ride are Jan Gan (A Chorus Line) Boyd, as a seductive agent who is perkier than Mary (Entertainment Tonight) Hart, and veteran character actor Michael Ansara, as a slimy senator orchestrating the murder plot. Director Peter Hunt, who edited the first five James Bond films before directing On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), does little with screenwriter Richard Sale's script (based on Sale's novel My Affair With the President's Wife). Bronson fans in search of espionage won't find anything here remotely like 1977's tense Telefon. (PG-13)

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