Written, Directed, Produced, and skewed all to hell by a confused Robert Duvall
Assassination Tango firmly adds Robert Duvall to a certain class of old actors. That certain class is termed ?OUT OF THEIR FUCKING MINDS.? In the case of Duvall?s 2002 Ultimate Driver?s Seat outing, calling it self-indulgent would be an insult to self-indulgence. The same nebulous greatness that shines from Road House is present here, albeit divergent subject matter. I pieced this absurdity together through several cruise ship hangovers, as it played back-to-back in my cabin on channel 16. If everything else is left demolished during my hangovers, I can safely say that my sense of humor somehow becomes acutely silly. Therefore, I made some notes.
From some scrawl across Carnival Cruise Lines stationary, I develop this for you:
Duvall plays a hit man of ill-defined organized crime association. He works for a man named ?Frankie? who just so happens to own a bar called ?Frankie?s.? Duvall?s character explodes into ?fuck?-ridden tirades at absolutely no provocation, usually during civil conversations over coffee. Self-proclaiming to be ?the best? at hits, he is sent to Argentina to off a political figure of unexplained position or relevance. While there, he becomes obsessed with tango dancing, a counter plot that should appeal to the menopausal word-jumble aficionado in all of us. The Argentine point of contact is played by Ruben Blades (1), who excels in un-acting and flinching as a result of Duvall?s many unforeseen and rootless outburst.
Back home (New York, I think), Duvall is enamored with his girlfriend?s ten-year-old daughter. In Argentina, Duvall shoots men in broad daylight (2) while dressed/disguised as a longshoreman (skullcap and fake beard). He even shoots a custom?s agent (?who the fuck are you? ?who the fuck?s asking??? ?let me fucking finish taking a leak here?) in an airport restroom, and under the apparent impression that forensic science stopped around 1970, deposits the murder weapon in a trashcan down the hall.
His character claims to have previously ?operated? for ten years in Guatemala, though still manages to bring much unneeded attention to himself on foreign soil, especially through random arguments with strangers ? scenes which are grade A- lowlarious (3).
The dance sequences are hard to take, and rudderless romantic conversations between Duvall and the Argentine love-interest/tango expert drag on for eternal minutes. There?s no shortage of ?tango is the future,? ?tango is love,? ?tango is eroticism,? etc malarkey.
Duvall uses a tiny, single-shot .22 caliber purse gun throughout the film, meaning he walks right up to his prey. Scenes of tango dancing are piggy-backed with scenes of Duvall, tiny ponytail combed out, rocking no shirt, cleaning the diminutive pistol, and test firing it into a phone book. After doing so, he exclaims, ?Yes!!?
The senseless plot trails off in 49 different directions. Characters start development, only to be never seen again. The assassination and subsequent escape result in a science-fiction level of implausibility over the latter part of the film.
Has anyone seen this movie? Please speak up. And no, that?s not all I have to say about the cruise. You?ll just have to let it trickle out.
(1) Does the man not have a badass name? Yup.
(2) Always mumbling ?you motherfucker? before pulling the trigger.
(3) I just made that word up. Back off.