I had middling expectations for this movie based on the one or two trailers I saw. Dylan O’Brien is an up and coming actor, Michael Keaton is making a comeback, and I want to believe Taylor Kitsch can get a decent role. From the moment the movie started, I had a feeling it was a dud … but somehow thought it could end up being better. Once Mitch Rapp (which I didn’t know the main character’s name until the end of the movie) started hand to hand fighting and then I saw Scott Adkins (big time martial arts actor), I got excited. Only to be let down time aftet time.
I would give it 1 “I have seen testing off the charts before” out of 10.
FOR THE UNINITIATED
We open in Ibiza, Spain where Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brian) proposes to his girlfriend before the beach is gunned down by terrorists. So he does the only logical thing and becomes a one man undercover Islamist terrorist, except no one believes him even though they set up a meeting with a low level “boss” (?) before some government agency takes out the cell. Because of course they were watching Mitch Rapp … his skills are off the charts (which we hear repeatedly). So they send him to a super special training camp led by Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton). He teaches them how to fight and shoot, even though everyone knows how to do it … so he has to get into their heads for no good reason. Shortly afterwards, someone steals weapons grade plutonium in Iran and they demand the super special group get to the bottom of things. Hurley, Victor (Scott Adkins), Mitch, and another undercover operative (Shiva Negar) track down the people responsible with ease. They discover that Ghost (Taylor Kitsch) is behind stealing the plutonium and is always one step ahead of them. SURPRISE! He was the best trainee Hurley ever had before he was abandoned and wants revenge.
The only decent part of the movie was that you could tell Michael Keaton got to put a lot of time into building his character and fleshing him out. He seemed to be the only person having fun and attmpting to act.
Literally everything about this movie is an action movie cliché. The former student who was the best anyone had seen … until the new student comes along. Aside from clichés, the camera was always way too close or was being juggled around fight scenes. Except for the times the movie would suddenly jump cut to somewhere else.
American Assassin is possibly the worst movie I have seen in quite some time. I regret not walking out of it, so I can only do my duty and potentially save someone from wasting any of their time. This isn’t worth waiting to catch on tv, see a rerun or something else.
If you want to see a worthwhile movie about assassins, then check out Leon: The Professional. It is Luc Besson’s movie about an Italian hitman who learns what it means to care about someone. It is also Natalie Portman’s first movie if that counts for anything … if not then watch it for Gary Oldman’s psychotic turn as a corrupt detective or Jean Reno’s best role. It is one of my favorite movies and I wish that I had rewatched that instead of seeing American Assassin.