Picks and Pans Review: Assassins

updated 10/23/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/23/1995 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Sylvester Stallone, Antonio Banderas, Julianne Moore

While director Richard Donner's action films (including all three Lethal Weapons) are usually witty and slick, this one is silly and convoluted. Stallone portrays a high-priced hit man who is ruthless and yet so compassionate that he still mourns the Russian mentor he killed 15 years ago. Indeed, he hands loaded pistols to prospective victims so they can opt to commit suicide.

Banderas plays an up-and-coming killer who idolizes Stallone. But, as he proved in Desperado, Banderas has the unfortunate habit for a would-be action hero of flinching every time he fires a weapon. Mostly he giggles and smirks. Moore, as a mewly Seattle computer expert/high-tech thief, is more concerned about her scruffy pet cat than she is about a $40,000 caper she has engineered involving the theft of a mysterious floppy diskette.

When Stallone's anonymous boss hires him to kill Moore, it sets up an inevitable romance between the computhief and the hit man. Moore is so vapid that Stallone's animal energy all but overwhelms her. A none-too-surprising plot twist doesn't lend much tension to the Stallone-Banderas shoot-out that ends the film. Their battle is remarkable only for being so unremarkable. (R)

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