"Murder is only killing without a license...and everybody kills." - Arthur Bishop
release year: 1972
viewing setting: home Bluray 6/26/20 and 12/24/18 and 12/31/17 and 10/17/17 and 10/30/16 and 5/13/16 and 12/11/15 and 10/9/15 and 6/4/15.....and home DVD, 12/27/14 and 4/9/14 and 1/3/14 and 11/9/12 and 6/26/11 and 12/17/08 and 8/19/05 and 12/13/03 and 10/19/02
synopsis: An aging hitman befriends a young man with a callous attitude toward life and death, and takes the kid under his wing, training him to be his successor.
impressions: This is one of my favorite movies ever. It profiles a man who has dedicated his life to one thing and done it well - at the cost of not having a family or any emotional attachments. (He actually seems to lack the ability to HAVE any emotional attachments.) Then he finds a potential young pupil and sees the chance to impart everything he knows. More than any other movie, this effectively shows what it would be like to be an assassin, day in, day out, through good times and bad. I mean, what do you do if a hit is put on an old friend of yours? You can't just not do it. Makes you think, huh? Due to the "1970s factor" (lots of quiet, deep dialogue but bad audio) and this DVD's lack of subtitles, many people will miss out on some of the best dialogue. That's a shame. Aside from some genuinely thought-provoking conversations and concepts, this movie has good planning and execution scenes - the elder assassin is very patient and meticulous about studying his victim and devising a plan. The behavior is pretty much a part of his regular routine and lifestyle. The modern audiences of today won't get it, since they're used to bullets that fly through a dozen obstacles (often while loud thrash metal music is playing) and still hit their target with a huge explosion of blood and gore. In the 1960s and 1970s (and in real life) it just didn't work like that.
acting: Charles Bronson does a good job in the kind of role made for him: quiet and deadly. Jan-Michael Vincent is also good as the young disciple who wants the glory but doesn't appreciate everything it takes to earn that glory. Jill Ireland shows up briefly as the call girl used by the older assassin to try and fill his emotional void.
final word: Classic assassin drama/action.
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