Silent Assassins

Lava Lamp
Our rating: one lava lamp.

Information about this film in the Internet Movie Database.

Silent Assassins
"This inflatable Linda Blair was expensive,
but it was worth it!"
Without checking the proper sources, we feel confident in declaring that Silent Assassins is not merely a Linda Blair/ninja movie, but the Linda Blair/ninja movie. Sadly, Linda Blair is not actually a ninja, nor does she have much in the way of interaction with any ninja. But Silent Assassins is a movie with Linda Blair, and ninjas, and that's all that counts.

The film jumps right into the action with a shootout on an abandoned pier in the middle of the night. Sam Kettle (Sam Jones, whose acting has not improved since Flash Gordon) and his partner (whose name hardly matters because he gets killed immediately) have caught the evil Kendrick doing something bad. In one of those things you can never, ever see coming, Sam's partner is killed, and Kendrick makes his getaway. Sam almost catches him, except that one of the bad guys grabs a baby out of a nearby baby carriage and throws it into the ocean. Sam jumps in after it, because that's the kind of selfless do-gooder he is. Of course, he's also a moronically stupid selfless do-gooder. Why in the world would a baby carriage with a baby in it be sitting on an abandoned pier in the middle of the night, during a gunfight? Needless to say, it's just a doll that went into the drink, and Sam is left empty-handed.

Silent Assassins
If that credit had read 'Pia Zadora,'
he'd have a hole in him you could
throw a basketball through.
Later, Sam is planning to leave town with his wife, Sara (Linda Blair). But before he can finish packing his former Captain, Cunningham (Charles Young), comes to see him. What follows is one of those wonderful scenes where the Captain lays out the entire plot for us:

Captain: Sam, six people were butchered, two kidnapped, one of 'em a six year old kid. And I'm certain that Kendrick is behind it.

Sam: Kendrick?

Captain: You've been looking for Kendrick for a long time. Now last month he was responsible for your partner's death, and three other officers. You can walk out on me, but you can't walk out on them.

Needless to say, this powerful display of rhetoric sways Sam immediately.

Silent Assassins
Suddenly, the everyone in the elevator is struck
by a mysterious case of lockjaw.
The scene in which Kendrick's men kidnap the aforementioned people goes something like this: First, Miss Amy (Playboy Playmate Rebecca Ferratti), an assassin who uses her model looks to her advantage, distracts a couple of guards by bending over, then shoots them. Then Kendrick and his men show up, dressed in quasi-ninja garb. It seems they use a Chevy van to get around, which certainly puts the lie to their status as "silent assassins." Kendrick's men then ambush an elevator full of people in order to capture a biochemist (Bill Erwin) who moonlights as a Walter Cronkite impersonator. The assassins kill everybody except the biochemist and a little Asian girl.

Kendrick's group is a diverse and eccentric one indeed. They border on the kind of villains from Daredevil comics. Kendrick works for a shadowy figure who is identified only by his lighter. Kendrick accentuates his dramatic flair by giving roses to Miss Amy. Plus, the gang's rank and file is made up of people who wear ninja garb, but some of them wield guns and hatchets.

Sam is joined in his search for Kendrick by Jun Kim (Jun Chong), who is the uncle of the little girl. Kim is, of course, a martial artist, and he impresses the fiery Sam with his calm in the face of adversity. So begins the "reluctant partners who learn from each other" subplot. We think this film was supposed to launch Chong as an international action hero, but the final version of Silent Assassins (at least for American distribution) pushes Kim into the background, and gives an abundance of scenes of Sam's domestic life with Sara. As Sara, Linda Blair is aspiring to be the next Pia Zadora, with her big hair and forced chemistry with Jones.

Silent Assassins
"Hmmm.. shoulda skipped the chili at lunch."
The rest of the movie progresses along standard cop movie lines. There are a few high points, however. Sam apprehends the man who is following him and then glues him to a wall. The mercenaries torture Walter Cronkite to find out the "formula" to some kind of bacteriological weapon. Later when they think they're going to get it, Miss Amy tells Walt, "Don't try any tricks, I happen to be a bio-chemist!" Apparently she got her doctorate just in case the whole model/assassin thing didn't pan out. And during the final fight outside Kendrick's hide-out, Sam finds an anti-tank missile launcher just lying on the ground. Not only does he know how to use it (Sam's an LA cop, so maybe that's not much of a stretch), but it's a magic anti-tank missile launcher, because the one-shot mechanism fires several rockets, with spectacular and quite photogenic results.

Silent Assassins could have been just another standard 1980's cop actioner, but the filmmakers went that extra mile to guarantee that this would be an especially painful 1980's cop actioner. During that decade it seems like producers would greenlight any project so long as it involved ninjas, no matter how tenuously, and Silent Assassins is all the proof you need.

Review date: 2/24/00

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Silent Assassins* At this point, Chris became inconsolable, as he fell off the recliner with laughter, tears streaming down his face. It was quite an experience, seeing a woman who could barely read her lines proclaim her proficiency in a highly skilled field of science.Go back!