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The Specialist

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The Specialist

The Specialist
Promotional film poster
Directed by Luis Llosa
Produced by Jerry Weintraub
Written by Alexandra Seros
Based on The Specialist novels by John Shirley
Starring Sylvester Stallone
Sharon Stone
James Woods
Rod Steiger
Eric Roberts
Music by John Barry
Emilio Estefan Jr.
(music supervisor)
Cinematography Jeffrey L. Kimball
Edited by Jack Hofstra
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • October 7, 1994 (1994-10-07)
Running time
110 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $45 million
Box office $170,362,582 (international)[1]

The Specialist is a 1994 American action film directed by Luis Llosa, starring Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone and James Woods.[2]


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Release 3
    • Critical reception 3.1
    • Box office performance 3.2
  • Accolades 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


In 1984, Captain Ray Quick and Colonel Ned Trent, explosives experts working for the CIA, are on a mission to blow up a car transporting a South American drug dealer. But when the car appears, a little girl is inside with the dealer. Ray insists they abort the mission, but Ned intends to see it through and allows the explosion to happen, resulting in the deaths of both the drug dealer and the girl. Angered by the girl's wrongful death, Ray savagely beats Ned and flees, effectively resigning from the CIA.

Years later, in Miami, Ray works as a freelance hit man. Desperate people contact him via an Internet bulletin board and he takes the cases that interest him. Ray specializes in "shaping" his explosions, building and planting bombs that blow up only the intended target while leaving innocent bystanders unharmed.

He answers ads placed by a woman named May Munro and speaks to her often to decide if he should take the job or not. During the talks he becomes intrigued by her story, coupled with the fact that he sees how attractive she is while following her. She is the only child of parents who were killed by Tomas Leon and his men. Against his better judgment, and pushed by her insistence that she will infiltrate the gang with or without him, Ray is persuaded to accept the job. Even though he has agreed, May ingratiates herself into Tomas' world as Adrian Hastings.

Ned now works for Joe Leon, Tomas' father and head of their crime organization. Once the hits on their lower level guys begin, they contact the chief of police to place Ned in their bomb squad. May tolerates Tomas and plays along as his girlfriend so she can watch the hits one by one. It is revealed after the second target is killed that May has actually been forced into a partnership with Ned, whose goal was to coax Ray out of hiding. After the job in South America went wrong, Ned was dismissed from the CIA and is intent on revenge.

When the trap for Tomas is set, May is in the room; the resulting explosion appears to kill them both. When Ned goes to Joe to pay his respects, he is left alive only so he can find Ray and bring him to Joe before Tomas is buried. Both Ray and Ned believe that May is dead, yet Ray discovers that bulletin board messages are still being posted. He responds to one, quickly realizing that it is a trap set by Ned and the bomb squad, and baits Ned into an explosive tirade.

When he goes to the funeral of Adrian Hastings, Ray finds that May is alive. She went to the funeral to see if Ray would attend. They go to the Fontainebleau Hotel where they have sex, after which she leaves. Meanwhile, Ned has gone to the church and learns that the person in the casket is not May. She runs into Ned in the hotel lobby and makes an excuse as to why she did not tell him that she was alive. A henchman is ordered to take her to the car and on the way she asks to use the restroom. Once there, she uses a cell phone to warn Ray. He rigs the hotel room to explode, and when Ned's henchmen enter the room it detonates, breaking the entire room off into the ocean.

In a final showdown, Ray and May are cornered in Ray's own booby-trapped warehouse. Ned pursues them, but is done in by his own hubris when he steps on a bomb. After the entire warehouse goes up due to the chain of bombs exploding, it appears that all inside have been killed.

The next day Joe reads about the incident at the warehouse. He then opens the mail brought to him and finds a necklace. It contains a picture of May's parents, which then explodes. After hearing the blast and knowing all responsible for her parents' death are dead, Ray asks how she feels, to which she responds, "Better."


  • Sylvester Stallone as Captain Ray Quick
  • Sharon Stone as May Munro (aka Adrian Hastings)
  • James Woods as Colonel Ned Trent
  • Eric Roberts as Tomas Leon
  • Rod Steiger as Joe Leon
  • Mario Ernesto Sánchez as Charlie
  • Sergio Doré Jr. as Strongarm
  • Chase Randolph as Stan Munro
  • Jeana Bell as Alice Munro
  • Brittany Paige Bouck as Young May
  • Emilio Estefan, Jr. as Piano Player
  • LaGaylia Frazier as Singer
  • Ramón González Cuevas as Priest at Cemetery
  • Tony Munafo as Tony
  • Cheito Quinonez as Singer at Party
  • Tony Tatis as Backup Singer
  • Mercedes Enriquez as Pregnant Woman on Bus
  • Yennifer Behrens as Schoolgirl on Bus
  • Scott Blake as Punk
  • Rex Reddick as Punk


Critical reception

Despite being a box office hit, critical reception was overwhelmingly negative as it has a 4% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 27 reviews.[3]

Although May Munro was supposed to have watched her parents get killed by Tomas Leon as a child, Eric Roberts is only two years older than Sharon Stone.

Roger Ebert gave it two stars out of four, stating that "The Specialist is one of those films that forces the characters through torturous mazes of dialogue and action, to explain a plot that is so unlikely it's not worth the effort. You know a movie's in trouble when the people in line at the parking garage afterward are trying to figure out what the heroine's motivations were."[4]

The film is listed in Golden Raspberry Award founder John Wilson's book The Official Razzie Movie Guide as one of "The 100 Most Enjoyably Bad Movies Ever Made".[5]

Box office performance

The Specialist opened in the U.S. on October 7, 1994 and was one of Stallone's few box office hits in the 1990s. It opened to $14,317,765 in its opening weekend and ended up making back its budget with $57,362,582 at the domestic box office while making another $113,000,000 overseas, giving it a worldwide gross of $170,362,582. It was Stallone's third highest grossing movie at the box office in the 1990s and the second highest overall gross next to Cliffhanger.[6]


At the 15th Golden Raspberry Awards, the film was nominated in five categories and won two of them.

  • Worst Picture - Nominated
  • Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone) - Nominated
  • Worst Actress (Sharon Stone, also for Intersection) - Winner
  • Worst Supporting Actor (Rod Steiger) - Nominated
  • Worst Screen Couple (Stallone and Stone) - Winner (tied with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt for Interview with the Vampire)

At the 17th Stinkers Bad Movie Awards, the film was nominated in four categories and won one of them.[7]

  • Worst Picture - Nominated
  • Worst Actor (Sylvester Stallone) - Nominated
  • Worst Actor (Rod Steiger) - Nominated
  • Worst Actress (Sharon Stone, also for Intersection) - Winner


  1. ^
  2. ^ Clary, Mike (1994-06-18). "Call in the Specialist Series: On the Job. Spotlighting the Workaday World. One in a Series.".  
  3. ^ "The Specialist". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  4. ^ "The Specialist".  
  5. ^ Wilson, John (2005). The Official Razzie Movie Guide: Enjoying the Best of Hollywood's Worst. Grand Central Publishing.  
  6. ^ Fox, David J. (1994-10-11). "Weekend Box Office Stallone and Stone Draw In the Fans".  
  7. ^ "1994 17th Hastings Bad Cinema Society Stinkers Awards".  

External links

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