You Win Or You Die

I grew up in a house where action films were king. Where Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal, Bruce Lee, and Chuck Norris were usually the heroes. Assassination Games features a return to form for one of those heroes.

In Assassination Games Jean-Claude Van Damme plays a contract killer (Brazil), and a very good one. Scott Adkins plays Flint, a trained killer that did some work for Interpol who is in hiding with his comatose wife.

Interpol has been under some heat and needs to flush out Flint to both silence him and get back money they lost when a deal Flint was involved with went bad. In order to do this they release, and put a hit out on, the criminal responsible for Flint’s wife’s condition to bait him. This man, Polo, and his crew gang-raped and beat Flint’s wife into a coma while making him watch. So, needless to say he has some personal interest in dispatching Polo.

Meanwhile Van Damme is hired by the “anonymous client” to take out Polo. The two cross paths and are forced to choose between working together or continuing to get in each other’s way.


  • Assassination Games is shot really well, and it looks great. All of the shots have sort of an odd hue to them, but it’s not overpowering, and it works for a film like this. It makes things look grimier which works really well for a film about contract killings and crime in eastern Europe.
  • Jean-Claude still has his action chops. He’s not doing any jumping spinning kicks, but he’s still got it. And giving him the role of a man from Europe that plots his kills out in advance works WAY better than casting him as a purely reactionary American fighter, especially as he gets on in years. This is his best action film in a long time.
  • Scott Adkins is great for this type of movie too. I’ve never seen anything he’s starred in before, but I will be checking more of his movies out.
  • The story isn’t fantastic, and there are a few plot elements that don’t exactly make sense.
The story may not be perfect, but this isn’t the type of movie that is setting out to win Oscars anyway, and it’s great for what it is. It kind of reminded me of The Mechanic with Jason Statham, only way better. Assassination Games makes way more sense and is just a better movie. It’s a shame that it was only released in limited release, because if more people knew about this movie I think it’d do well, especially with the action crowd.
Go see this if it’s in a theater near you.

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