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Asher (R)

Drama 117 min. December 7, 2018
By Craig D. Lindsey
It's been about a hot minute since we've had a lonely-hitman-finds-love movie. (Sure, there was Lynne Ramsay's You Were Never Really Here earlier this year, but that's more in the lonely-hitman-finds-redemption genre.) Asher is indeed another of those offbeat hitman flicks where the main man is a cold, calculated killer and a sensitive soul. Played with slow-burning thoughtfulness by Ron Perlman, Asher lives a quiet life drinking wine, cooking good food and rubbing out dudes for his Jewish employers (led by Richard Dreyfuss, really working the Yiddish accent in his few scenes). A failed job has him literally stumbling into the apartment of Sophie (Famke Janssen), another lonely heart who gets our boy in a romantic mood.

The movie, from veteran director Michael Caton-Jones (Rob Roy), hits all the familiar beats. Does our hero start feeling like an old relic around younger, more trigger-happy gunmen? Check. Does he and his new love become targets when more bodies start piling up? Gotcha. Does he think about intervening when his girl starts pondering whether to euthanize her dementia-stricken mother (Jacqueline Bisset)? We'll throw that in for free, son!

As obvious and rudimentary as Asher is, it's kind of forgivable when you consider that this movie is really Perlman (who produced the flick) finally getting his chance to be the sympathetic, charismatic leading man. He has spent so much of his career playing monsters both figurative (Sons of Anarchy) and literal (Hellboy), it's nice seeing him just play a guy for once.
Michael Caton-Jones Ron Perlman, Peter Facinelli, Nadine Velazquez, Richard Dreyfuss, Famke Janssen Jay Zaretsky Momentum Pictures

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