Film / The Specialist

The Specialist is a 1994 action film, directed by Luis Llosa.

The film opens in 1984. Ray Quick (Sylvester Stallone) and Ned Trent (James Woods) are agents of the CIA and explosives experts. They have been tasked with assassinating a drug lord. When Ray notices that their target is accompanied by a little girl, he wants to call off the hit. Ned performs it anyway, killing both the drug lord and his girl. Ray is disgusted and quits their partnership and the agency. Ten years later, Ray has become a freelance assassin. Making a point of only killing specific targets, never bystanders. He also takes some cases for free, responding to requests by desperate people.

The latest such request comes from May Munro (Sharon Stone), a young woman who has an old grievance: while still underage, she witnessed the murders of both her parents by organized crime figures due to her father having been a witness in some case. She was hiding in the closet and recognized one of the killers, Tomas Leon (Eric Roberts). He happens to be the only son and heir to a mob boss. Years later, she located him, seduced him and infiltrated his organization. Now she needs a partner to help assassinate him and hopefully bring the organization down as well. That Ned is part of said organization is added incentive for Ray.

This film provides examples of:

  • Aroused by Their Voice: Ray and May enjoy listening to each other speak; so much so that they not only have long conversations on the phone, but Ray listens to recordings of her while working out, and May conducts at least one phone call while wandering around her apartment in sexy lingerie and high heels, with soft mood lighting and romantic music playing in the background.
  • Blown Across the Room: What happens to several of Ray's targets. Granted, he is using explosives, but still...
  • Chewing the Scenery: Holy cow, James Woods must have crapped Kodak film reels after this role.
  • CIA Evil, FBI Good: The CIA doesn't mind collateral damage, nor killing children. That is what disgusts Ray.
  • Dirty Business: How Ned Trent viewed the killing.
  • Dirty Cop: Trent is getting paid by Leon Sr. to protect the organization from Quick.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: May, who is barefoot at the film's climax.
  • Ironic Echo: In the beginning of the film taking place in 1984, Ned says this to Ray during their CIA mission:
    Ned: Here's a tip: No fail-safe.
    • Fast forward to 1994, Ray says the same exact thing to Ned near the end of the movie when Ned steps on a bomb causing the booby-trapped warehouse to blow up.
    Ray: Here's a tip: No fail-safe.
    Ned: Pressure pads?
  • Kick the Dog: The killing of the young girl at the beginning.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Ray supposedly only kills villains. May seduces and betrays her enemy. Even risking her own life to be there and watch his face as he dies.
  • Professional Killer: Ray Quick. His specialty is explosives, making him also a Professional Mad Bomber.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Leon Sr.'s final action upon noticing the bomb he just triggered within May's necklace is to look up and yell at God "You bastardo!". Considering that one second before he was thanking Him for killing Ray and May…
  • Shower of Love: Ray and May have sex in the shower.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Tomas is seldom seen without a cigarette or cigar, and very obviously considers himself to be an ubercool toughguy.
  • Smoking Is Glamorous: Sharon Stone smokes constantly throughout the film, and in several scenes it is done in a very sexual, sensual fashion.
  • Soft Water: A bomb in a hotel room launches someone through a window and into the sea, but he seems unharmed by either the blast or the fall. Then the hotel room itself falls on him.
  • You Killed My Father: Actually both parents, but this why May hates Tomas so much—enough to dedicate her life to vengeance.