ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
“(Re)Assignment,” as it’s now being called, has been floating around IMDB.com for the past few years. There was talk of it on Twitter, but nobody really started paying attention until some recent comments by star Michelle Rodriguez.
Rodriguez said: “No press is bad press, baby! You know what I mean? I remember a day when white people were playing black people. So it’s just about the evolution. And now you have a popular subject matter that nobody wanted to make a movie about, and now everybody’s on it,” she followed.
The LGBT community is pretty upset with both her and the movie; and when one considers that Rodriguez herself is bisexual, that makes both her signing on and these comments doubly baffling. There is talk of boycotts.
What does this mean for the film?
The film would have likely bombed regardless of boycotting.
It’s a bad premise. The official synopsis, according to IMDB.com, reads: “A revenge tale about an ace assassin who is double-crossed by gangsters and a rogue plastic surgeon operating on the fringes of society. The story becomes a trail of self-discovery and redemption against a criminal mastermind opponent.”
How many times have people seen movies along those lines? The only ‘fresh element’ is that the assassin in question is trans, aside from that these tropes have been used countless times. It’s a generic thriller exploiting the trans community as well as the debate surrounding it.
On top of that, the cast largely consists of people who are not at their career high points. Director Walter Hill has not had a genuine critical success in decades, Rodriguez herself only has “Avatar” and the “Fast and Furious” franchise to cite. The star of Avatar was the effects, and in any given Fast and Furious movie she’s the fourth-fifth biggest name. Sigourney Weaver and Tony Shalhoub are both beloved, but are not at great points in their respective careers. For that, there is little in “(Re)Assignment” to inspire confidence.
The calls for boycotting are likely to intensify – especially as trailers drop and the film nears release.
It is unlikely that “(Re)Assignment” will be able to sustain much controversy once it has been released, as it has late August-early September mediocre, action fare written all over it. But as the advertisements start rolling and the film starts getting closer to release, that’s going to be when many will be at their angriest.
What will be the most interesting element to stem from all of this will be how much advertising money the studios will be willing to sink into this almost certain stinker. They are the ones the angry mobs should be moving towards in all likelihood. It wouldn’t be shocking if this was just a pitch put at the screenwriter/directors doorsteps.
I digress. The most boring option is that they could release it on Video On Demand, and with the cast/director and the now added factor of people having actually read the premise, it’s by no means impossible.