After waking up and discovering that he has undergone gender reassignment surgery, an assassin seeks to find the doctor responsible.


Frank Kitchen (Michelle Rodriguez in drag) is a bad guy having a bad day when his latest assignment gets him cornered and clobbered by some assailants. He wakes up a changed person: It’s weeks later and he’s no longer a man, but a woman who has been drastically operated on, from the face to the genitals. It’s the cruelest punishment imaginable for Frank because according to the vindictive doctor (played by Sigourney Weaver) that orchestrated his gender reassignment, Frank was “too macho” to be walking the streets. The doctor is taking revenge on Frank, who killed one of her friends, and the fact that the doctor planned all this out beforehand shows what kind of a force Frank is dealing with. With no choice but to accept his new gender, Frank – now a woman (and not a bad looking one either) – must continue taking hormone pills and adapt to her new life. But, of course, Frank is not going to take this sitting down: oh, no! Frank goes on the warpath for revenge and bullet by bullet and step by step she gets closer to the crazy doctor who did this to her.

From director Walter Hill, The Assignment is such a curious movie. The concept is intriguing (to say the least), but the way Hill puts it together in flashbacks, comic strip panels, and with long stretches without action, the film’s momentum loses steam even before the movie finds its own identity. Rodriguez is really daring in her dual role, and Weaver is great as always, but the movie is either too small in ambition to achieve full throttle greatness, or too big in concept to fit in such an awkwardly edited package. The action comes in fits and spurts, but once again, it never quite feels like an action picture, which is bizarre considering it came from Walter Hill, whose last movie Bullet to the Head was a small, but pretty fantastic action movie. The Assignment will go down as a miss, but it’s a bold and original miss.

About the Author

david j. moore

david j. moore is the author of World Gone Wild: A Survivor’s Guide to Post-Apocalyptic Movies and the upcoming book The Good, the Tough and the Deadly: Action Movies and Stars, coming April, 2016 from Schiffer Publishing.