Michael Caine famously bought a new house with his fee for making Jaws 4. What Anthony Hopkins splashed out on after completing The Virtuoso remains unknown. Oddly, he forgot to plug this eye-poppingly bad hitman thriller during his recent Oscar acceptance video for The Father. While Nick Stagliano’s film has understandably made the most of his involvement, Hopkins is in fact strictly a cameo proposition. The movie actually stars Anson Mount, a leading man whose bland forgettability would be a godsend for a hired assassin. Less so a professional actor, but then nobody’s perfect.

We open in the manner of a 1990s straight-to-video erotic thriller, stylised coitus ended early with a peppering of bullets. Mount’s cologne-ad voiceover keeps going throughout. “Perfection demands precision,” he informs us. “Precision demands perseverance.” Literally 11 minutes later he is still talking. Had he just kept shtum, his next job might not have become the disaster it does, setting in motion the rest of this grandly misjudged film.

Cast as Mount’s veteran handler, Hopkins must have been on set for all of an afternoon. Much of it was presumably spent on a showpiece scene in which his character recalls fighting the Viet Cong, part of a graveside monologue of Kurtzian aspect. Such is Hopkins’s clear commitment to the role, you will forget your crass questions about his payment and ask another one entirely. Wait — what year was it that Wales invaded Vietnam?


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