Full Disclosure: I did donate to the Kickstarter campaign but am not involved in the production of this film, thus this review represents my honest opinion.
Having followed Russ Emanuel's career for almost a decade and a half his latest directorial effort with Paul Hickman penning the script and producing represents a huge step forward. The 15 minute short is an action slice of hopefully things to come.
Stunt veteran Tara Paige plays a hired assassin Kaylee, yet green around the edges, adept at free running, and being slightly awkward in heels ha! She has to pass one final test prior to becoming fully trained. Tarah has a likable quality a mix between the amazing Heidi Moneymaker and the tremendously talented Amy Johnston. Tarah moves well and I enjoyed the free running scenes with the drone. Tarah's fighting skills are decent not top level but perfect for 'The Assassins Apprentice' as her character is more a finesse assassin and is sent to actually poison her target.
Star Trek veterans Marina Sirtis as Miranda and Robert Picardo as Pete serve as a type of tech and informational support and teacher respectfully. Though their roles are somewhat limited I am sure when this gets made into a feature their characters whoever is playing them will be expanded. Marina is a likable lady off screen and her personality shows through in all her work. Mr Picardo is a consummate professional actor and seems to be in character, as soon as required.
I must give special recognition to the cinematography of Ray Karwel. His tight camera work allows the audience to get in the scene. The action flows clean and the close quarters dialogue is full of expression and gravitas. Drone camera work is quite good, especially for a short film. Steve Overstreet is listed as the drone operator and he did a precise job of capturing Tarah as she is running though the film.
Another highlight to 'The Assassins Apprentice', which is often overlooked on many films, is the tremendous musical scoring by Vasillis Milesis the music belays action yet does not overpower the film. The opening and closing themes remind me of big budget Hollywood action films.
Overall the action is damn good, and actually a bit different, as fighting is not really used, except for one scene and it is minimal. I am sure a feature version which according to Russ is already written will expand scenes and up the ante in fighting and perhaps gun play.
Very minor quips arise in the transitions between Marina Sirtis's character talking and the action. May have been better to have her either interact with another character, almost liked piped in music in a store when she was on screen it was fine, but was awkward, at times. Picardo's character meets with Tarah Paige maybe at least a meeting or something would have made the film flow perfectly. Again this is minor, but worth noting. Also I am not a proponent of slow motion action scenes as was done when Tarah was running over the bench, I think it would have looked cool at full speed, as a stunt perhaps a still screen at the end of the jump or have her run into more objects. Again minor gripes, but as an action guy, these jump out, I am sure with a feature film and more cash it will be much better, as more time can be taken to film and the scenes themselves will be longer.
Currently, 'The Assassins Apprentice' is making festival rounds. Definitely worth a watch. Very high quality film that rates an 8 out of 10.
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