What is your Jericho Score – Every Assassin Ever!
Welcome back for a very special Jericho assessment! This is a resurrected blog series going back to 2013 that imagines how famous spies might do if they play a real-life Jericho game here on the streets of San Francisco. We’ve covered everyone from Phillip & Elizabeth Jennings (Americans) & Lorraine Broughton (Atomic Blonde) to The Saint & Jack Bauer, et al. This week, we’re going to look at a whole group of people, not just one. Hold on to your fedoras… we’re looking at every assassin ever portrayed on the silver & small screen.
Assassins are a somewhat controversial group of people who are very close cousins to spies and are sometimes confused with spies, but don’t perform any espionage. Assassins have a very narrow job description, eliminate a target. Now to be fair, sometimes a spy (especially a movie spy!) will perform a targeted kill (assassination), but they usually have other things that they are trying to accomplish (e.g. steal a secret, recruit an agent, sow mistrust, etc.). On the flip side, assassins learn trade-craft & surveillance skills, but these skills are solely acquired to contribute to the primary mission of liquidating their target. So, let’s get into it!
Stealth – Assassins must be ghosts if they want to be the best. Their target, and all the added security around them, must never see them coming or going. There are cases where an assassin just plants a bomb in a car or apartment to dispatch the subject, but even that job requires the bomber to get in & out unnoticed. Both Leon (The Professional) and John Wick use alternate access routes like sewers & elevator shafts to move around unseen. The Jackal and The Terminatrix use disguises to get close without notice. And let’s not forget about all assassins divine gifting with the sniper rifle, which might be the ultimate stealth device. Given all these powers, I’d be tempted to rank them 10 for 10 however, assassins also sometimes use what I like to call the “one-man-army assault”. If you remember the lobby scene in The Matrix, you know what I mean. If you dropped an assassin into a real-lifeJericho game, more than likely, they would be able to sneak up on every defender at the pickup point, but they might also just walk right down the middle of the street dual wielding their pistols (see Combat!). The cleaners get 8 of 10 for Stealth.
Combat – Most assassins avoid straight-up combat because they are working alone and don’t have the firepower to go up against multiple enemies, like Hanna or Vincent (Collateral) do. To be sure, plenty of assassins will take on an army of minions, but on their terms. Like Mr. & Mrs. Smith or Agent 47, assassins pick the place & time to ambush their target & overwhelm the security with all manner of firepower (e.g. rocket launchers, bags of rifles, remote detonated explosives, etc. (see one-man-army assault in Stealth). In a game of Jericho, having an assassin on your team defending the drop-off would be a waste of their talents, because they are wolves that need to hunt (very proficiently, I might add). Of course, you don’t always get to do what you want when you are playing Jericho. For Combat, our contract killers get 7 of 10.
Teamwork – Assassins don’t play well with others. It’s kind of their thing. They used to be part of the military (Storm Shadow) or a spy agency (Red Grant) or a cop (Remo Williams), but no longer. They work alone. This is such a quantum fact, when hitmen do work together with each other for a job, it’s a really big deal! I’m looking at you, Three Blind Mice (Dr. No)! In fact, I challenge you to name just six assassin teams seen on the big screen…I’ll wait. Not easy huh? So, I think I can safely say that for 99% of all assassins ever portrayed, in a game of Jericho, they would take off before your team could finish the offensive mission strategy (and don’t even think about asking them to be a decoy). Assassins rank 1 out of 10 for teamwork.
Adaptability – The skill of changing your plan when the plan goes wrong is a hallmark for almost every assassin. Something will not go right, count on it. Nikita needs Victor (La Femme Nikita), Anton (No Country for Old Men) needs a $100 t-shirt, and Leon (The Professional) needs some dead guys clothes. They may not always be able to accomplish the mission, but at least they survive to fight another day, which might not help if the courier needs to deliver their intel and they need a sacrificial decoy! (See Teamwork). For Adaptability, I’ll give the liquidation squad 8 of 10.
So, movie assassins are kind of like a newbie playing Jericho for the first time! Newbies are totally invisible, because none of the Vets recognize them, and they don’t stick with the team plan, because they are distracted by “easy kills”. They may have a super awesome gun, and their own plan, but they will more than likely be overwhelmed by a team that is working together. In the end, our conglomerate of assassins get 24 out of 40 . Better than the 60’s spies, but lacking in a few places the modern spies have competence. I wonder how a whole team of assassins would do?
Next candidate: The man who has seen it all in the last 50 years. The Original JB himself…James Bond!