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Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Specialist (1994)


The government taught him to kill.

The Specialist was a 1994 action film from Warner Bros. Pictures. It was directed by Luis Llosa, produced by Jerry Weintraub, and written by Alexandra Seros. Among the cast were Hollywood notables Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, James Woods and Rod Steiger.

In 1984, Ray Quick (Sylvester Stallone) and Ned Trent (James Woods), CIA explosives experts, are in the middle of a mission to blow up a South American drug dealer. But when the dealer's car appears, there's a little girl in it.

Ray doesn't want to kill the girl, so he wants to abort the mission. But Ned intends to see it through, and allows the explosion to happen. Ray beats Ned up.

Now, in Miami, Ray is making a living as a freelance hit man. Desperate people contact him by computer, and he only takes the cases he wants.

Ray's work is distinguished by its precision; he specializes in building and planting bombs that blow up only the intended target, leaving innocent bystanders shaken but unharmed.

Against his better judgment, Ray is persuaded to take the case of May Munro (Sharon Stone), whose parents were killed by men who work for Miami drug kingpin Joe Leon (Rod Steiger).

May wants Joe to pay for that, and Ray agrees to help, even though she wants to stay close by so she can savor the revenge. But Ned is now working for Joe, and Ned is jockeying for power within the family, particularly in relation to Joe's son Tomas Leon (Eric Roberts).

After Tomas gets blown up, Ned immediately recognizes Ray's signature explosive style. Ned wants revenge on Ray because Ray got him fired from the CIA after that last mission 10 years ago. And Ned also intends to use the situation to curry favor with Leon.

Meanwhile, Ray and May are falling in love, despite her insistence that she's no good for him. May turns out to be a pawn in Ned's plan for vengeance on Ray, but she double-crosses Ned to save Ray, who must then rescue her from Ned's clutches, and bring Joe down.

TRIVIA
  • Steven Seagal was offered the lead role but he wanted $9 million to star and direct, so the producers turned him down.
  • Academy-Award winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman did an uncredited rewrite of the script early in his career.
  • Sharon Stone had a crush on Sylvester Stallone before working with him.
  • The look on Sharon Stone's face when the bombs go off at the end is genuine fear; unlike Stallone she was not used to being around explosions.
  • Inspiration for the Interpol song "The Specialist" on The Black EP


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