Films on TV round-up: a Stallonic epiphany

Ed Williamson

11th March 2012

I have seen neither of this week's two featured films. But I think that, if we work as a team, we might just both learn something.

Commencing: Monday 12th March 2012

Assassins (1995) Monday, ITV4, 9pm

As I said, I haven't seen either of these. But their tandem appearance on this week's films on TV list put me in mind of one of those double-feature action DVDs you see sold for four quid, and I found the idea entertaining, because you can pretty much guarantee that somewhere in a service station off the M25, there's a bargain bin with these two films sold together in one box.

"STALLONE," it will inevitably say across the top, in a capitalised non-serif font. "DOUBLE THE ACTION," it will almost certainly continue, perhaps diagonally, with the 'O's made to look like crosshair targets. There will be a picture of him, holding a gun. Maybe even one in each hand. He will either be standing calmly, ready to open fire, or running towards us in final blaze-of-glory, death-or-victory pose.

On the back it will copy the synopsis for Assassins verbatim from tvguide.co.uk, which is handy because that's exactly what I've done.

Hitman Robert Rath is planning to quit his lethal profession, especially when he is stalked by a ruthless younger assassin who has no qualms about killing innocent bystanders. But as Rath takes on his last assignment, he decides to protect his intended target after his rival comes gunning for her. Thriller, starring Sylvester Stallone, Antonio Banderas and Julianne Moore.
Men will scan it casually in strip-lit boredom, while waiting for the wife to buy a bag of Minstrels for the rest of the journey. They will move to put it back, but then they will stop. They will stop and look in wonder at what they have unearthed.
Daylight (1996) Friday, ITV2, 10pm

"I thought I'd seen the full limit of Sylvester Stallone's dramatic range," they will think to themselves. "I thought he could only pull off shooting and punching."

"But look here," they will think: a small epiphany among the Ordnance Survey maps and magazines, the sound of forks scraping Little Chef plates and ray-gun salvos from arcade games mere white noise to their ears now. "As God is my witness, Sylvester Stallone can swim too."

Their fingers trembling now, they will read the synopsis.

A devastating explosion in the New Jersey Tunnel causes a horrific pile-up, trapping a group of motorists underground. A former emergency worker witnesses the blast and heads in to guide the handful of survivors to safety before the waters of the Hudson river above them break through and flood the tunnel. Disaster movie, starring Sylvester Stallone, Amy Brenneman, Viggo Mortensen, Dan Hedaya and Claire Bloom.
Their wives will arrive by their sides, closing purses and putting Minstrels and Smints in handbags. "What is it, darling?" they will say, seeing their husbands shaken. "What's wrong?"

And when the men finally raise their heads, they will hold up the Sylvester Stallone double feature DVD, and their wives will see a look in their eyes they have never seen before. And they won't know exactly what it means, but they will know, through the understanding that only years of constant companionship can bring, that the men they loved are now forever changed.

They will return to their cars and resume their journey. The men will be quiet, watching only the road, the orange glow of the overhead motorway lights flickering against the windscreen. The women will eat Minstrels, stealing occasional glances across at their husbands, looking for some sign of the men they once knew.

But they will see none. Nothing will ever be the same again.
Also on this week

Hot Shots! Part Deux Monday, Film4, 7.20pm (also Saturday, 7.20pm)
Top Gun Monday, Film4, 9pm
Revolver Monday, C5, 9pm
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer Monday, 5*, 10pm
Bruno Monday, Film4, 11.05pm
Universal Soldier: Regeneration Tuesday, ITV4, 9pm
Into the Wild Tuesday, Film4, 9pm
Alien Wednesday, E4, 10pm
The Fifth Element Wednesday, E4, 10.35pm
Storyville: Client 9: The Call Girl and the Governor Wednesday, BBC4, 11.20pm
Casino Thursday, ITV4, 10.35pm (also Saturday, 11pm)
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels Thursday, ITV2, 11.15pm
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen Thursday, Film4, 9pm
Conan the Destroyer Friday, ITV4, 9pm
(500) Days of Summer Friday, Film4, 9pm
The Running Man Friday, Film4, 10.50pm
The Last House on the Left (2009) Friday, ITV4, 11.05pm
The Last Castle Friday, BBC1, 11.30pm
Kangaroo Jack Saturday, ITV2, 7.25pm
Glory Saturday, 5USA, 9pm
Battle Royale Saturday, Film4, 11pm

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