Assassination Tango

Robert Duvall

BY Allan TongPublished Dec 1, 2003

Veteran American hit man John J. Anderson (writer and director Robert Duvall) travels to Buenos Aires to kill a corrupt general with the aide of a local named Miguel (Rubén Blades). When the general's return to Argentina is delayed, the suave John passes the time tango dancing. He falls for dancer Manuela (Duvall's real life paramour Luciana Pedraza) even though he lives with girlfriend (a fine Kathy Baker) and her daughter back in New York. When the general finally returns, John completes his assignment only to be hunted by the Argentinean authorities. Someone within John's circled has betrayed him. Duvall's anticipated follow-up to 1997's acclaimed Apostle is a disappointment. Despite countless shots of tango dancers, Duvall falls short of capturing the intrigue and eroticism of this sensuous dance. Further, Duvall fails to draw a parallel between the world of tango and his assassin. "The paradox of tango," says Pedraza on the audio commentary she shares with Duvall, "is not to show one's feelings." John leads a double life — one he projects to his family and the other he leads through the barrel of a gun. Pity, because Assassination Tango has all the elements for a top-notch drama. The audio commentary is the meatiest extra but even that is a little thin. Duvall and Pedraza offer enough background information behind this film and discuss their obvious passion for tango but reveal nothing extraordinary. At certain moments, however, Duvall does confess that Pedraza contributed more to the direction than we'd presume. The deleted scenes and alternate ending are uninteresting and worse, are offered in poor low-resolution. Plus: photo gallery, soundtrack promo, trailer. (MGM)

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