The Specialist Was All About the Special Effects
The real draw in here is the special effects which at the time would have been spectacular for a thriller at that moment in time. However, the plot and the acting from all the cast feels slightly underwhelming. James Woods is at times a bit too over the top which makes for painful but entertaining watching but is clearly what the director intended for his psychopathic role. In fact, his over the top performance, while not the best, is very entertaining to watch at times in what would be a very dreary film without him.
Stone does a good job of being the sexy and slightly mysterious female protagonist. Rod Steiger does a good job as the Miami mob boss whose language is somewhat overacted at times clinging on to that classic mob leader style.
One particular highlight is the scene in the aquarium which of course ends up with one guy’s head being plummeted into the side of the glass and left “sleeping with the fishes”. Classic action thriller stuff that keeps us entertained enough to stick with the action.
The atmosphere of The Specialist is quite peculiar and given an almost gothic and eery feel throughout. There is plenty of dim lighting, moody settings, and tensive Miami music. The mood is particularly grim with only Wood’s character offering up some wild and unadulterated fun. It feels as if the cinematographer may have taken the film noir aspect a bit overboard and is more than what the film actually required.
Overall, The Specialist is an interesting enough Miami-style action thriller that you won’t turn off, but it just lacks a bit of finesse and fine acting that would have made it a Hollywood classic.