Review: Crime drama ‘The Assassin’s Code’ is strictly by the book

Justin Chatwin in the movie "The Assassin's Code."
(Gravitas Ventures)

There’s hardly anything in the crime drama “The Assassin’s Code” that’s not derivative, including the name of the movie’s protagonist. Justin Chatwin stars as rookie detective Michael Connelly — a name that in a better film would be a respectful homage to one of our greatest police procedural novelists. Here, though, it’s apt to remind viewers that they’d be better off watching Connelly’s Amazon series “Bosch.”

Directed by veteran cinematographer David A. Armstrong (from a script by Edward Lee Cornett and Valerie Grant), “The Assassin’s Code” has an appealingly warm look, making good use of its Cleveland locations. But the pro forma story of powerful crooks and corrupt cops never generates any heat.

Det. Connelly is a man with a chip on his shoulder, determined to atone for the sins of his father, a disgraced policeman. While investigating a complicated case of drugs, theft and murder, he learns more about how the gangsters and the upper-class are interrelated in his city.

“The Assassin’s Code” features a few plot twists, but none surprising. The situation and the characters are just too stock — right down to the hero’s disapproving wife, who gets after him for living dangerously and keeping secrets.


The picture perks up a bit in its final third when Peter Stormare shows up as a lethal killer with his own moral code. He’s a cliché too, but at least he’s a charismatic one. Everything else in the film is about as exciting as someone reading off a checklist.


‘The Assassin’s Code’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes


Playing: Arena CineLounge Sunset, Hollywood

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