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Review: Assassin’s Game (2018)

Shot two years ago under the title Maximillian, Assassin’s Game is one of those films that are easy to miss. Little to no publicity, generic artwork, no familiar names or faces. And that’s a shame. Because while the film doesn’t have a particularly original plot, director Keith Collins II and co-writer Porche Robinson have put together one of the best microbudget action films I’ve seen since Plan B.

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Max (John Dannug) is having second thoughts about his career as a killer for hire, thoughts his brother Sage (Hakeem Sharif) is encouraging. Little does he know he’s about to get the chance to leave it all behind. But not in a way either of them will like.

It seems Vargas (Ernest Jam, Six Feet Below Hell) has lost faith in Max and his team. He’s ordered Watcher (Demond Ballou) to dispose of them. His solution, a battle royale styled survival game that will pit them against each other. Now, locked in a warehouse, surrounded by heavily armed mercenaries, the battle is on. But the betrayals run deeper than any of them know.

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The team, they’re called The Shadows, by the way, have a nice mix of talents, so the fight scenes stay varied and don’t get stale. X (Kimberly Root) and Y (Daniel Loesch, Between Worlds) work as a team. Bunny (Ember Burns) has a ninja like ability to appear and disappear in a cloud of smoke. Gin (Jerry Sur) is a martial arts master. Max’s skill? A punch that can stop a man’s heart.

Assassin’s Game has plenty of action, the fights are well choreographed. I’ve frequently complained about crappy fight scenes in films with this kind of budget, and it’s nice to see it done right. It helps that several of the cast have a background in stunt work and know-how to make it look convincing. Of course, the trade-off is that they’re not always particularly good actors. And Assassin’s Game isn’t immune from that.

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Fortunately, the dialogue is kept to a minimum and is mostly standard tough-guy one-liners. The couple of attempts at anything deeper fall pretty flat. There’s also the odd gaffe, like cut off body parts that don’t bleed. But overall, fans of indie action films should get their money’s worth and a bit more out of Assassin’s Game.

Assassin’s Game is available to stream via High Octane Pictures. You can check out its Facebook page for updates.

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