Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
There are some issues with this movie 'Assassin's Run', with the majority of these issues having little to do with the movie itself which is a perfectly acceptable, mediocre action thriller working with a couple of good ideas.  Ballet Fu for one.  More on that later.  No, the problem is with Lionsgate who has purchased and renamed and remarketed this poor film.  Originally titled 'White Swan', since our star Sofia Skya's character is the White Swan in Swan Lake, and I guess Lionsgate didn't want it associated with the critically acclaimed 'Black Swan'.  I don't know why because riding the coattails of a better movie usually works wonders.  So they renamed it 'Assassin's Run'.  Even though there are no assassins on the run in this movie.  They also have Christian Slater and Cole Hauser on the cover in fatigues, holding weapons, ready to set stuff off.  The only thing remotely accurate about that box cover is that Christian and Cole do happen to be in the movie.  Christian for just a little while.  No fatigues, no weapons, just business suits and cell phones.  So when you Red Box / VOD / Netflix or steal this movie and notice it's nothing like anything you thought you were getting… it's not the people behind this movie's fault.  Blame Lionsgate.  Bastards.

Michael (Slater) is a big time entrepreneur in Russia married to prima ballerina Maya (Skya), and they have the most precious little girl you will ever want to see in Nina (Marianna Khalifman).  Life is really good for Maya as she is the lead in Swan Lake, her man loves her, her daughter idolizes her and the people adore her.  Problems start when Michael starts getting threatening phone calls as somebody is trying to take over his business through treacherous means.  So treacherous, they kill Michael for his crimes against the Russian people.  Not really.  They just want the money his business has stashed
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away somewhere, but alas there are these documents they need to get this money and since these idiots have killed the two people who know where these documents are, Michael and his financial guy, now it's time to torture the Prima Ballerina into telling the bad guys where these documents are.

Of course Maya doesn't know where they are, but this doesn't stop the powers that be from setting her up, putting her in jail, beating her near to death, kidnapping her daughter, and just being overall lousy to this tall lovely woman.  But when they took her baby girl… they pushed this ballerina a little too far.  You would think being a soft, sexy ballerina in a hardened Russian prison wouldn't serve you well in the yard, but a slight alteration to the classic pirouette… and now we have a whirling, round house kicking, amazingly limber, damn near six foot tall ass kicking machine on our hands.

First order of business, get out prison.  Next, find the documents that folks are getting killed over, then get out of Russia and make it to Vegas where her in-laws are keeping her daughter.  Just so you know, that whole side of the family is dead now.  And the cable guy.  Now Maya is just trying to survive the day, get her baby back, and find out who the scalawag is that's doing all this nastiness to her family.  We kind of know already, but we still acted shocked and stuff and when we found out.

It looks like the Russian film industry is firing up their Straight to DVD export business something fierce as we have seen a number of these titles in the last year or so.  I remember 'Cold Fusion' which was awful but entertaining, 'Shadows in Paradise', also starring Ms. Skya, and one of the worst movies I've ever seen, and then 'Soldiers of Fortune' which was also awful but entertaining.  The Russians have this Straight to DVD thing down cold.  This leads us to 'Assassin's Run' which I have to admit wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.  Especially once I realized it wasn't a commando action movie featuring assassins on the run, but a ballerina turned badass family revenge drama.

Of course, 'not as bad as I thought it would be' doesn't mean that 'Assassin's Run' was good, but just that.  It is a little on the stupid side, I mean if you want somebody to tell you where the money is, one probably shouldn't kill this person.  And I don't think I ever completely understood the convoluted reasoning behind these bad people and what they wanted, outside of the money, which they could've just asked for.

All that being said, Sofia Skya does a pretty good job with role.  The transformation from ballerina to badass was handled about as realistically as it could've been done, and the tall beauty does a fine job of handling the role of a distraught mother trying to get her baby back.   Then, of course, there's Ballet-Fu.  It stands to reason that if you can spin around real fast on a single toe, while holding your knee to your head, why can't that be transferred into kicking somebody in the face?  Admittedly, when our heroine tells the bad guy that she's coming for him next, I'd be more excited than scared that a woman who looked like that was coming over to my house, but then that's because I'm foolishly underestimating the power of Ballet-Fu.

Yes, Christian Slater is in this movie just a little bit more than me and you are, Angus MacFadyen makes a cameo appearance that the filmmakers probably could've saved some money on, and the marketing materials are borderline criminal in their attempts to mislead, but 'Assassin's Run' almost makes it worthwhile just for the invention of Ballet-Fu.  Almost.  And I hope we get a sequel when Maya goes back to Russia to ballet that bad dude in the face.
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