Assassin Club – This Poor Man’s John Wick Misses the Mark in a Big Way

MOVIE REVIEW – A hitman realizes he must kill six other hit men or be killed himself. The world is their arena, and only one can come out alive. This “battle royale” international action thriller, recently picked up by HBO Max and starring Henry Golding and Noomi Rapace, sounds like the perfect recipe after the huge success of John Wick. True, we’ve already had four of those, so can another Hitman franchise really hit the mark? Unfortunately, this movie has been thoroughly flogged and not even because of that, because the genre is a bit of a dead duck…



Morgan Gaines (Golding) is a former Royal Marine turned assassin who gets six new jobs. Each target is worth a million dollars, but the catch is that it’s the same contract and he’s one of the targets. A deadly game begins as Morgan seriously considers retiring to finally live a quiet life with his girlfriend Sophie (Daniela Melchior). It’s a well-known dilemma, which can be solved well in the genre. The problem is that Assassin Club doesn’t even make use of the somewhat clichéd, but well-developed potential of the story and is unfortunately just a sad piece of the genre.



Mediocre action scenes


The main problem with Assassin Club is that despite a promising cast, relatively decent performances and well-intentioned visual choices, the execution leaves something to be desired. The action is mediocre at best. Camille Delamarre’s direction is at times unfocused, reminiscent of mid-2000s action films with too many shaky cams, awkward close-ups and a dizzying amount of editing. There is a lack of ingenuity, and the aesthetics are far from impressive. You can almost feel that the movie was made in a hurry and lacks personality, and this extends to the script.

I can almost imagine a bunch of deadbeat investors and movie producers sitting around a ridiculously fancy table demanding that they hire someone to write their own John Wick. They don’t care about the details, just that there has to be a guy and a bunch of people trying to kill him in a world where there is a secret assassination society. Assassin Club is that movie. A story like this relies more on execution than originality. The problems with the script are almost painfully obvious, and the movie is technically, you could say, a disaster.

The story is unnecessarily convoluted from the beginning, trying to impose a whole backstory on a hitman versus hitman situation that needs no explanation. It would have been enough to be like Bullet Train, where comedy elements were added to this unoriginal concept – although that movie wasn’t perfect either, and The Hitman’s Club isn’t even close. While the “battle royale” story set on a train was carried out effortlessly there, the jumble of ideas here unfortunately culminates in a disorganized, unimaginative and bloated mess.



Great stars, bad performances


At least our protagonist could have shone in this huge mess, but this is a bad movie with a star who can’t summon the charisma to make a difference despite ineffective direction and a weak script. Golding as the lead assassin is dewy-eyed and doesn’t even inspire much of a performance from his co-stars, with Daniela Melchior, familiar from other action movies, playing the role of the lead’s girlfriend and naive schoolteacher in a torturous way, But Noomi Rapace, who deserves a much better movie, is so boring as the main villain that it’s easy to forget what first-rate performances she used to give in quality movies, and Sam Neill, who also excels in other movies, is barely noticeable as the dull and boring mentor.

Of course, it doesn’t help Assassin Club that it comes on the heels of the brilliant John Wick 4. The Keanu Reeves-led action franchise raised the bar for action thrillers. Unfortunately, almost no one has come close to matching its unparalleled world-building, well-developed characters, visual aesthetic, or creative and effective action sequences.

Assassin Club has a great concept if the execution is so poor – including the story, the action sequences, and the acting. While Assassin Club does have the advantage of a well-known, top-notch cast in the lead roles, even they cannot save this movie from mediocrity.




Assassin Club

Direction - 3.2
Actors - 4.4
Story - 2.2
Visuels/Action - 4.6
Ambience - 2.5



Assassin Club has a great concept, but the execution is so bad - including the story, the action scenes, and the acting. While Assassin Club has the advantage of a well-known, top-notch cast in the lead roles, even they cannot save this movie from mediocrity.

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BadSector is a seasoned journalist for more than twenty years. He communicates in English, Hungarian and French. He worked for several gaming magazines – including the Hungarian GameStar, where he worked 8 years as editor. (For our office address, email and phone number check out our impressum)

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