Wince Your Way Through the Trailer for Scuzzy Crime Flick ‘The Assignment’
Despite having seen legendary genre director Walter Hill’s latest feature at the Toronto International Film Festival back in September, I had completely forgotten that it exists until the first trailer surfaced earlier today. Perhaps this is because the film has now changed titles twice, going from the thoroughly problematic Tomboy to the still pretty problematic (Re)Assignment to the vague, slightly better The Assignment. Or perhaps this is because the movie is bad, bad, bad. Whether it’s the schadenfreude-fueled fun kind of bad or the soul-suckingly evil kind of bad, however, will vary from viewer to viewer.
The, uh, let’s say polarizing premise is as follows, judge for yourself: Michelle Rodriguez plays Frank Kitchen, a male gun-for-hire who runs afoul of some bad folks and gets himself in hot water with sadistic, amoral doctor Rachel Kay (Sigourney Weaver, spouting Edgar Allan Poe allusions and Shakespearean quotations). Kay knocks out Frank and forcibly subjects him to gender reassignment surgery, and when Frank wakes up with a body he barely recognizes, he‘s hungry for revenge. While dealing with the challenges of a transition he didn’t ask for, he cuts a bloody rampaging swath through the criminal underground in search of his lost penis.
Trans advocacy groups have already voiced their objections to the film, displeased with both the fact of a cisgender actress portraying a trans character and the basic premise, which turns the experience of transitioning into a violent and nonconsensual process. The film has not yet set a release date, but Saban Films intends on running it within the year. And when they do, prepare yourself for the backlash of a lifetime.