Walter Hill is a long ways away from his heyday. Though he’s been responsible for bringing us some truly enjoyable films like The Warriors and 48 Hrs., not to mention holding producing credits on the Alien franchise, he hasn’t been terribly active in recent years. His last outing behind the camera was the decent Sylvester Stallone-led actioner Bullet to the Head. That was back in 2012, but now he’s returned with a new movie titled The Assignment, and today we’ve got the first trailer for it.
Premiering back at the Toronto International Film Festival, Hill’s latest has come under some fire in recent months thanks to its subject material and the way it tastelessly handles it. Early reviews have called it trashy and indelicate, and from the footage presented here, we can see where the critics are coming from. Our own Matt Donato didn’t care much for the film either when he caught it back at TIFF (at which point it was called (re)ASSIGNMENT), saying the following in his review:
The sleaze and spunk of Hill’s best films are nowhere to be found, dooming an otherwise ambitious storyline to bland, murky expectancies.
Starring Michelle Rodriguez as hitman Frank Kitchen, The Assignment sees the protagonist forced to undergo gender reassignment surgery by a sadistic doctor, played here by Sigourney Weaver. Unsurprisingly, when Frank wakes up and discovers what’s happened, he sets out for revenge. You can no doubt see why activist groups have already started causing a stir over the film.
As a revenge flick, it looks innocent enough, and Rodriguez is certainly a capable action lead, but it’s the subject matter underlining the story and the way in which Hill executes his ideas that’s got people so upset. It just screams sleaze and while we don’t like to judge a film before we see it, we certainly don’t feel too optimistic about this one.
Saban Films hasn’t set a release date for The Assignment just yet, but it’ll presumably land at some point in 2017, when it’ll surely be met with a whirlwind of controversy.