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'The Specialist' (R)

By Hal Hinson
Washington Post Staff Writer
October 08, 1994

Sylvester Stallone and Sharon Stone. It has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Stone and Stallone. Stallone and Stone.

Say it loud and there's music playing. Say it soft and it's almost like praying. Say it till you're blue in the face, and it still won't change the fact that "The Specialist" is obnoxious, narcissistic tripe.

Actually, with all the preening, posing and stretching, it's hard to know if "The Specialist" is an action movie or an exercise video. Or a porn movie without the sex. Fit, trim and tanned to a luscious shade of gold, the stars offer their bodies to the camera as if they were contestants in a bodybuilding competition. And so entranced are they with their own smashing physiques that you half-expect them to burst into a rendition of "I Feel Pretty."

The plot is, well, a plot -- he's a demolition expert she hires to avenge her parents' death. The filmmakers, who include director Luis Llosa, don't seem to care about it, and certainly we don't, so why don't we just skip it.

The picture stars, in addition to the headliners, Rod Steiger, Eric Roberts and James Woods, who rise collectively to about the same level of awful. About the only plus is that at least Woods doesn't take off his clothes.

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