THE ASSIGNMENT (Walter Hill)

Whereas the John Wick franchise stylishly parodies B-movie revenge-thrillers, Walter Hill’s The Assignment IS a B-movie revenge-thriller.

Unlike the former’s mere spoofing, the latter legitimately satirizes the genre’s gender tropes, specifically the roles that actresses are often “assigned” to play, by commenting on – through deconstructing – them (in this case literally, ala Pedro Almodóvars The Skin I Live In, which explores similar themes in a more serious light). It connects and juxtaposes the paradoxically-androgynous sexuality of past action stars with their present corollaries by comparing supporting player Sigourney Weaver – whose customarily-robotic line deliveries, like Keanu Reeves’ as Wick, are not only forgiven by, but also significantly contribute to the crucially-dehumanized landscapes of such flicks – with Michelle Rodriguez, in one of her best performances to date. 

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