Stone on Stallone
Former CIA operative Ray Quick (Sylvester Stallone) is now a hired killer and it is what connects him to May Munro (Sharon Stone) who wants the 3 men killed who she witnessed kill her parents when she was just a child. The trouble is that protecting those she wants killed is Ned Trent (James Woods) a former CIA buddy of Ray's who he has issues with. But is everything as it seems or is May trying to play Ray with an ulterior motive, she certainly tries her seductive best to meet him.
Whilst before 1990 Sylvester Stallone had delivered a variety of movies there was always the "Rocky" movies but then he put the series to bed with "Rocky V", or at least he did for a while, and started delivering other action movies. In fact throughout the 90s Stallone explored other action movies be it futuristic action in "Demolition Man" or hero rescuer in "daylight" and whilst none of these were great movies they still entertained. Sadly "The Specialist" was on of the biggest backfires because quite simply it doesn't work, it doesn't work on so many levels from Sylvester Stallone being this quiet assassin to Sharon Stone being the sexy woman who hires him to get revenge and that doesn't even touch on the terrible storyline. In fact "The Specialist" ends up being a movie which trades on Stallone's muscular frame, Sharon Stone's breasts and not a lot else.
In a way the less said about the storyline to "The Specialist" the better but to put it bluntly this is a story with more holes than a cheese grater. It is such a mess that within 20 minute you have switched off from following, which is good news when it comes to the actual twist, yes "The Specialist" has a twist. But that is not the only issue because director Luis Llosa has basically tried to make it a sexy thriller as we have Ray Quick listening to the sultry voice of May that he has recorded whilst he watches her from the shadows or works out. And it is so painfully cheesy that trying to take any of it seriously becomes impossible.
Now this wouldn't be so bad if the action side of "The Specialist" worked but it never does and the opening scene which takes us back to 1984 with Ray and Ned working as CIA-operatives is about as exciting as it gets. There is more action but so many of these scenes are either limp or so over the top that again you find yourself verging on laughing.
Talking of which, and sort of a laughable action scene, there is the sexy, erotic side to "The Specialist" and by that I mean the excruciating sex scene between Ray and May in a shower. Let's put it this way the only steam is what comes from the shower because it looks uncomfortable with neither Sylvester Stallone or Sharon Stone looking happy with it. Throw in Llosa's styling which gives it an almost chocolate colouring and there is zero eroticism about it.
But to be honest neither Sylvester Stallone nor Sharon Stone look comfortable in the rest of the movie delivering performances with no heart to them. And they are not the only ones because Eric Roberts and Rod Steiger look just as uncomfortable delivering cheesy stereotypes. In the end it is James Fox who ends up providing the most entertainment because he plays Ned Trent so over the top that he is genuinely funny.
What this all boils down to is that whilst "The Specialist" may feature a decent cast it is one of Sylvester Stallone's worst movies. It simply doesn't work and it seems like someone said well we'll have Sylvester Stallone looking muscular whilst Sharon Stone shows her breasts in a few scenes and that will be enough.