Ray Quick is a specialist who is super special at ‘splosions. May is a beautiful woman looking for revenge against those that killed her family. Seems like a match made in heaven… that is until Ray’s insane former partner Ned comes a-knockin’. Can Ray stop Ned and get vengeance (and maybe get the girl) before it’s too late? Find out in… The Specialist.
How?! While on secret CIA assignment, Ray Quick is shocked to find that his partner Ned Trent is willing to kill an innocent child in the course of an assassination. After failing to save the child, Ray beats Ned to a pulp, disgraces him, and leaves the agency. Years later he works by answering personal requests for help using his specialty: shaped explosions meant to kill only his targets. May Munro is a woman who has continually requested Ray’s help with getting vengeance on the local Miami mob who is responsible for the death of her family. He’s resistant to use his skills for such a job, but after realizing that May is willing to risk her own life by infiltrating the mob herself, he decides to start taking out the targets to save her. Despite this she still becomes the girlfriend of mob boss’ son Tomas. After the lower level targets start to be killed the mob calls in Ned Trent to investigate and it’s revealed that May is in his employ (what a twist!) and is being used to get to Ray. Ray sets his sights on Tomas and gets ready for ‘Splosion Time (his words, not mine). But after the trap has been set May goes in to see him one last time and appears to be killed in the blast. Both Ray and Ned think that May is dead and when Ned tries to get to Ray through May’s personal ad, Ray realizes what’s up. Shortly thereafter Ray goes to May’s funeral and she reveals that she faked her own death and that they should def go to a hotel tootsweet and have a gratuitous sex scene that mostly focuses on Sly’s tight behind. After getting her fill of Sly she attempts to leave him high and dry only to be captured by Ned. She’s able to warn Ray, who escapes via ‘splosion. Ned tries to use May as bait, but is tricked like a dumbo and May and Ray escape back to his hideout. Ned is able to track them down where they engage in a climactic ‘sploision out where Ned is killed. As Ray and May leave Miami to live out their life together we see one final trap set by Ray to kill the head of the Miami mob. THE END.
Why?! May just wants revenge… as does Ned. Ray on the other hand is just like a lot of people in this world. He gained valuable skills in his last job (mostly deadly ‘splosions) that haven’t translated very well to the private sector. So really he’s just trying to make ends meet in this harsh world that doesn’t appreciate ‘Splosion Time (again, it’s his term, not mine). The man has a warehouse hideout to pay rent on after all.
Who?! There is a brief music scene in the film that apparently involves Emilio Estefan Jr. from Miami Sound Machine on piano and LaGaylia Frazier on vocal. You’re like ‘who?’ uh, only the judge from Sweden’s Got Talent. Duh. But seriously she’s like a pretty major Swedish singer. Weird that the scene is thrown away so quickly.
What?! Not really a whole lot to say in terms of product placements or MacGuffins. Not really any props for sale either. Now props not for sale? Jackpot. I like this blog entry. Not really for The Specialist prop which is just some fake dynamite, but the other two from Demolition Man and Cliffhanger which are both bonkers.
Where?! Mega Miami movie. It’s got the vibes, it’s got the heat, it’s got the sexy, sultry rhythm. No wonder Sly and Stone had to get in that shower to make sweet sweet yoga sex. Anywhere else and their skin would be sizzling with sweat. Some good sites and sounds and specific tie-ins to the region and I daresay this is an A.
When?! I went through this film with a fine-tooth comb convinced that I would find a solid date. Sly Stallone is a computer wizard checking his weirdo message boards all day so I thought that was a solid lead… nope. Maybe May’s funeral notice in the newspaper? Nope. But surely the end where our villain smugly looks at the front page news story about the death of Ray Quick?! Nope, nope, nope. F.
I loved this movie so much that it made me face mortality. Not my own, but rather the very real fact that the time of peak Stallone was forever in our rearview mirror. At one point The Specialist was new, a fresh Sly jewel that put a sparkle in everyone’s eyes. But now it is in the past and we can dig up that jewel, but supplies are limited. The film is right on the cusp of straight-to-video with Stallone going full mumblecore and the only sexy yoga scene I can remember. The sex scene is like a parody of a sex scene and there are explosions everywhere. If my mind could conjure a Sly Stallone film out of thin air it probably would look something like this. It’s really great and a very solid first Stallone Day and end of the year. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! If you want a movie where you get to stare at Sylvester Stallone’s greased up and tanned abs, boy howdy do I have a movie for you! Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – This film had been on the docket for quite a while. Stallone, Stone, bombs, and glistening abs. Yes please, and may I order seconds? The most interesting thing in the preview (beyond some of the notes which make Stallone sound like a lunatic) was the director who is from Peru and seems to be a major player (still) in Peruvian television and film. What were my expectations? The reviews for the film were catastrophic, so I assumed the film would be ultra dumb with Stallone in particular being like … a smart beefcake character, like Cobra. The type of person Stallone really wanted to play (a cross between a stock broker and police officer, basically Raymond Tango) for some reason, and he never really sells it right.
The Good – The illogical bomb scenarios are really really fun. There is probably a really interesting Hitman-esque video game called The Specialist where the goal is to design various custom bombs for assassinations without causing collateral damage … uh, patent pending, that does really sound cool. Anyways, I liked Stone well enough, I can see how she was nominated for an Oscar a year later. And the sweaty Miami setting was used to good effect. Best Bit: Da bombs!
The Bad – Stallone is terrible in this, it is right around when his action career cratered with Judge Dredd, Daylight, and Assassins coming out right after. Woods isn’t much better, mostly just yelling and rending his clothes. And Eric Roberts is a B-list character actor inexplicably hired to play a Cuban-American (I think). The writing is, indeed, braindead. For real, James Woods knows what Ray Quick looks like, he knows he lives in Miami, and Ray Quick looks like Sly Stallone. There is no way he doesn’t find him in a second by just asking around for a bit. I don’t believe it. I feel like the movie wanted to be Heat, but then they accidentally made James Woods a true sociopath and Ray Quick not much more likeable, and the film fell apart. Fatal Flaw: Stallone is a terrible actor.
The BMT – This is the first real deal Stallone Day, the other kind of coming in hot right when we invented the concept. And I think we chose well. Once we watch Assassins we’ll be pretty close to finishing off his major films (Oscar and a few of the Rocky films would be the only major ones left). Unless we wait for decades though I wouldn’t be surprised if we have to switch to a different actor, like Nicolas Cage, for the special 53rd Thursday. Did it meet my expectations? I think it exceeded them. I kind of expected just a rote action film, but the film is almost erotic thriller level sex scenes with a slippery Stallone and Stone, in full muscle-y glory, going at it in a shower. That alone is worth the price of admission, the whole thing is just insanity.
Roast-radamus – An okay Product Placement (What?) for Miller. When you are sweating profusely in the sweltering Miami heat nothing is as refreshing as a delicious corn-flavored Miller. Great Setting as a Character (Where?) for Miami, obviously. And I think this is a slam dunk BMT.
StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 9.2%; Notability: top 26.0%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 3.7% Higher BMeT: The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Junior, The Next Karate Kid, The Flintstones, Double Dragon, On Deadly Ground, North, Leprechaun 2, 3 Ninjas Kick Back, Exit to Eden, Color of Night, The Fantastic Four, In the Army Now, Getting Even with Dad, Blank Cheque, My Girl 2, Beverly Hills Cop III, Bad Girls; Higher Notability: The Flintstones, Beverly Hills Cop III, The Shadow, Love Affair, Frankenstein, North, Radioland Murders, I Love Trouble, Exit to Eden, The Pagemaster, D2: The Mighty Ducks, Junior, Little Giants, The Puppet Masters, Clifford, Thumbelina, Major League II, Clean Slate, Angels in the Outfield, Blue Chips, and 9 more; Lower RT: Getting Even with Dad, Major League II, Exit to Eden, Leprechaun 2, Lightning Jack, In the Army Now; Notes: This is the last installment of this section as I’m moving it to the preview. I’ll note that IMDb gave this an honorable mention on its Top 10 Awkward Sex Scenes list.
You Just Got Schooled – Jamie noticed that for the 15th Razzie Awards the Worst Picture Nominees were North (BMT), Color of Night (BMT), On Deadly Ground (BMT), The Specialist (BMT) … and Wyatt Earp? Which doesn’t qualify with a 46% on Rotten Tomatoes. Watching it, I pretty much got why people at the time didn’t respond very well to it, because Tombstone had just come out the year before (and was well received), and the acting is pretty atrocious (with the exception of Dennis Quaid who is really good as Doc Holliday). That being said, the film goes along at a pleasant clip for a three hour film, and it was interesting enough that I’ll probably ultimately read a book on Wyatt Earp / Tombstone because it was just a wild time in the west. B-.