Top 5 Assassination Myths

Written by Michael Wynands So… where do we apply for this “license to kill”? Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Myths. In today’s instalment we’re counting down the Top 5 Assassination Myths. While James Bond may have popularized the concept of killing without consequence, real MI6 agents have clarified that they have no such permission or right. Sadly, as you’ll soon discover, the real world of contract killing and assassination is nowhere near as romantic or glamorous as films have made it out to be. Special thanks to our user Ashjbow for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Written by Michael Wynands

Top 5 Assassination Myths

So… where do we apply for this “license to kill”? Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Myths. In today’s instalment we’re counting down the Top 5 Assassination Myths.

While James Bond may have popularized the concept of killing without consequence, real MI6 agents have clarified that they have no such permission or right.

Sadly, as you’ll soon discover, the real world of contract killing and assassination is nowhere near as romantic or glamorous as films have made it out to be.

#5: The Hollywood Hitman is the Real Deal


John Wick, Agent 47, Jules Winnfield and Vincent Vega - dressed in suit and tie and delivering those one liners… they make contract killing look cool. In reality however, the average contract killer isn’t nearly as charismatic. According to David Wilson, Professor of Criminology, his recent study of UK contract killers revealed that the typical hitman is more of an average joe. They are often simply desperate individuals, and apart from those at highest level of the profession, they are far from masters of the trade - more likely to be caught or killed than become legendary master assassins.

#4: Pretty Much Everything About Ninjas


Alright, so the modern contract killer is a bit of a disappointment, but surely these assassins of legend come as advertised? Sadly… no. These agents from feudal Japan were masters of espionage and infiltration, but much of what we identify with ninjas nowadays is gross exaggeration and romanticized ideals. They’re always depicted in all black… but they dressed for the occasion, which more often than not, meant disguising themselves as farmers or other common folk. While they did carry out assassinations from time to time, they were primarily used to collect information. The sword typically wielded by ninjas in film, the Ninjatō, has no historical reference before the 1960s, and was likely projected onto them retroactively.

#3: Hits Go Down in Private Places


In films dealing with assassins, the killings always involve some sort of elaborate infiltration into the world of the target. Gangsters are killed in private clubs, politicians are killed in hotel rooms and so on. But according to Professor Wilson that’s another Hollywood fabrication. Think about it… why would a contract killer make their lives any more difficult than it has to be? Based on his research, more often than not, the hit goes down in an unremarkable place… at an unremarkable time. In other words, they happen when the target would least expect it. His examples include when the victim is leaving the gym or grocery store, or walking the dog. For whatever reason… Tuesday is the most popular day for assassinations.

#2: They Use A Wide Variety of Methods


There are a lot of inventive ways to kill a person… you need look no further than the 1960s Batman series starring Adam West, or the Saw film series, for inspiration. But as we discussed in the previous entry, when trying to get away with murder, it’s best to keep things simple. And any good contract killer knows it. While piano wire, poison, cutting the brakes on a car might make things more interesting… a contract killer isn’t looking for a challenge - they’re looking for a payday. And the quickest way to take a life is with a bullet. Sure, Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski famously used everything from guns to an ice-pick, but he’s more the exception than the rule.

#1: Hitmen Always Cost a Small Fortune


We’ve all heard the sort of rates charged by Hollywood hitmen. Deadshot gets a million for a hit. Twice that if you try to stiff him. In “Smokin Aces”, the hit put out on Buddy Israel is also a million dollars. John Wick has a whopping $2 million dollar bounty on his head. As a moviegoer, you’d be forgiven for thinking that hiring a killer is a luxury only the rich can afford. But the real payouts are much more reasonable, and sometimes, downright depressing. According to a 2002 study by the Australian Institute of Criminology, the going rate down under was $15,000 per head. While Prof. Wilson’s UK study uncovered payouts as high as $125,000, sometimes hits paid as little as $250.
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