HIDDEN ASSASSIN is a series of chase sequences cobbled together into a screenplay. Proficient martial arts matchups, pungent European local color, and the de rigeur lethal target practice invest HIDDEN ASSASSIN with enough noisy thrills to satisfy action buffs and espionage groupies.
Having wiped out the Cuban ambassador to the US, a right-wing US government splinter group huddles with Cuban traitors to cripple an upcoming US-Cuban peace summit in Europe. Told half-truths, US Marshal Michael Dane (Dolph Lundgren) is summoned by his foster father, Agent Alex Reed (John Ashton),
in an effort to arrest suspected assassin Simone (Maruschka Detmers). Outsmarting Dane and Reed in the wine cellar of a Prague restaurant, ex-hit lady Simone proves a political embarrassment to Dane and Reed's boss, attache Dick Powell (Gavan O'Herlihy), who soothes the ruffled feathers of Cuban
diplomat Alberto Turena (Simon Andreu) about the US agents' failure to intercept Simone.
Eluding Dane during a high-speed train chase to Vienna, Simone claims to be a retired mercenary when she's finally captured, a claim Dane believes after secret agents seeking to kill her cut them off. Forging a relationship in adversity, Dane and Simone rush back to Prague to prevent the next
planned assassination. By the time Simone is gunned down at Reed's apartment, Dane has concluded that Reed is the conspiracy's triggerman. Trailing Alex to a sewer where he's positioned to kill, Dane futilely reasons with Reed, who's revealed to be a rogue hit man for Turena's planned coup
d'etat. After Dane thwarts Reed's mission, Reed sacrifices himself when double-crossing Cubans toss a grenade in the sewer. Bloodied but unbowed, Dane storms the hotel peace conference site, publicly arrests Turena during a shoot-out, and blasts him away up on the hotel roof. Cynically, big-shot
Powell plants Simone's fingerprints on the assassin's rifle so that Reed's heroic reputation remains sacrosanct.
In peak condition, Dolph Lundgren leaps trains, kicks the crap out of assailants, and handles a rifle like a pro. He's still a terrific athlete, but shows signs of histrionic mobility here. Perhaps it's the sleek production values in this movie, but his love scenes with sex bomb Detmers seem
assured and committed to the romantic situation.
Aside from Dolph's improved acting and the gorgeous scenery, the film is a run-of-the-mill catch-me-if-you-can thriller, because Reed's complicity can be so easily spotted. Top-level government hits, Cold War political ploys, and professional betrayals are dug up from the espionage thriller
graveyard without even shaking off the dust. Because the movie shows no interest in exploring morality and ethics, it's best to enjoy HIDDEN ASSASSIN as a long celebrity commercial for running shoes. (Graphic violence, extreme profanity, nudity, adult situations, substance abuse.)
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- Released: 1996
- Rating: R
- Review: HIDDEN ASSASSIN is a series of chase sequences cobbled together into a screenplay. Proficient martial arts matchups, pungent European local color, and the de rigeur lethal target practice invest HIDDEN ASSASSIN with enough noisy thrills to satisfy action b… (more)