Asher is a new film directed by Michael Caton-Jones and starring Ron Perlman. The movie is about an aging hitman (Perlman) who falls in love with a woman while fulfilling a contract. However, when one of his jobs goes wrong, he must take action because of his newfound love.
The film’s biggest issue is in its pacing. It isn’t boring, but it is much longer than it should actually be. The movie starts with a bang (literally), then fizzles out for a while before picking up in the last twenty minutes ago. Unfortunately, the hook in the beginning and the reward in the end are nowhere near compelling enough to go through the journey.
The film also contains quite a few tonal shifts that are rather jarring. The movie jumps between old age drama, romantic comedy, and action thriller too many times. At a certain point, it becomes hard to decide what the film wants to be and whether or not it should be taken seriously.
The dialogue has quite a few issues too. It just didn’t feel natural or smooth. There were a few solid conversations, such as one between the protagonist and a rookie assassin, but many of the interactions were awkwardly-written. Perhaps if the movie had spent more time on building its world, the dialogue could have made more sense.
The central romance in the film isn’t particularly believable, either. The trope of the old man having his heart warmed because of love isn’t anything new, so it’s surprising that the movie was unable to make this compelling. Due to a combination of the lack of chemistry between the actors and the illogical circumstances that brought the characters together, the love story simply doesn’t work.
Perlman fits the lead role very well, but he isn’t that great of an actor. His delivery is very flat and emotionless. It is as if he was doing this for a paycheck, didn’t know his lines, or both. Famke Janssen is slightly better, but she also has issues with the more emotionally-driven moments in the film. The highlight is Richard Dreyfuss, who is enjoyably hammy in his role.
The action in the movie was surprisingly solid when it was present. Had the film committed more fully to being an action movie, it could have been far more enjoyable. The best scenes in the film are those in which we see the protagonist at work, with a scene in which he is a sniper on a job. The cinematography during this scene was impressive.
Overall, Asher was somewhat disappointing. It is certainly never boring, but it doesn’t deliver as either an action movie or a romance.
Asher is now playing in select theaters and on demand.