One issue in dealing with modern criminal gangs, is that their operations are diversified. The heat shielding you hope is hiding a human smuggling operation, could be hiding radio emissions from software pirating computers.
Dealing with a trained operative is like playing chess with a master. Dealing with criminals, on the other hand, is like playing checkers with a three year-old: they like to change the rules.
One of the most difficult skills to master in combat is taking a dive. Sometimes an operation demands that you lose a fight. But it’s the hardest thing in the world to see the opening and let it go.
A fight is one of the quickest ways to tell if someone isn’t who they say they are. If you say you’re Russian, but fight like an American, you can consider your cover blown. Which means you’d better know Sambo, the mixed martial art of Russia. Of course, then you also have to win the fight. A great cover I.D. Doesn’t help much if you’re dead.
Getting useful information is about creating a new reality for the interrogation subject with no hope of escape or freedom. You control every aspect of their world: how they eat, where they sleep, even whether it’s day or night. When it’s time to ask questions, you want them disoriented, anxious, wondering who you are and what you can do to them. You have to make them understand that their entire future their hopes, their dreams, and every breath they will ever take from then on, it all depends on one thing: Talking
A lot of people’s first instinct when they need information out of a captive is to grab a baseball bat or a gun. The fact is, torture is for sadists and thugs. It’s like getting groceries with a flamethrower. It doesn’t work, and it makes a mess.
A basic rule of covert ops is let someone else do your dirty work. Let someone else find the guy you want to kill. It’s a great technique, as long as you’re not – the someone else.
Assassination is one percent shooting, ninety-nine percent preparation: anticipating moves, devising approaches, recruiting sources, finding the perfect opportunity so the bullet’s almost an after-thought. Usually that’s when a target’s on the move, when there are too many variables to control them all… There are ways to lessen the risk: an armed escort, taking an unpredictable route to your destination, having back-up in a trail car. But ultimately, as long as the assassin knows where you’re going, they have the upper hand.
Fighting is often about tactical retreats like running away from two knives. It’s also about knowing how to make the body count unacceptable.
I’d start by going through The Only Unfair Fight is the One you Lose posts:
Here, http://howtofightwrite.tumblr.com/post/52349151535/fight-write-the-only-unfair-fight-is-the-one-you-lose and here: http://howtofightwrite.tumblr.com/post/52428049557/fight-write-the-only-unfair-fight-is-the-one-you-lose
Beyond that, keep in mind, that for an assassin, they’re probably going to be killing any opponents as quickly as possible. Frequently, this means dispatching their foes before an actual fight can start.
If they do end up in combat, your character’s probably going to be looking for weapons to end a fight. If that’s a chair, lamp, toaster, or a handgun, then so be it.
I’m going to throw this one out there, since I don’t think we’ve mentioned it before: the head twist and break isn’t really a thing. Theoretically you can kill someone that way, but it takes a lot of force. And, from that position, it’s a lot easier (and quieter) to execute a choke hold and strangle someone to death that way.
Also, strangling someone takes a while. (And, no, this isn’t from personal experience.) Even after the victim goes limp, the character needs to keep choking them until the brain actually shuts down. Otherwise, they’ll just start breathing again, and recover.
I’d say look at Val Kilmer in Spartan and Tom Cruise in Collateral. Cruise is actually playing an assassin, while Kilmer is playing a government operative. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but the Thomas Jane Punisher film might also give you some ideas, there isn’t a lot of hand to hand, but that’s kind of the point.
If you have a lot of spare time, I’d recommend looking at 24. Kieffer Sutherland looks like he’s using a mix of Krav Maga and some miscellaneous CQB training. The problem is, there’s a lot of show (about 18 hours per season), and only a tiny fraction of that is combat.
There’s some good stuff in Burn Notice, so long as you remember that the only real difference between Michael and an assassin is that the latter is getting paid to kill someone. On the whole, the show is a good primer for tradecraft, which is useful for writing an assassin. Also, it’s entirely plausible to have an assassin that’s unwilling to kill people (outside of a contract), simply because it would draw more attention onto them, in which case, Michael is a very good character to look at.
Anyway, hope that helps.
Michi wants to add Karl Urban’s character from Red, and Bruce Willis’ character from Lucky # Sleven. Fact is, we have a wall of DVDs featuring hitmen and assassins of all stripes, so this is by no means a comprehensive viewing list.