“I hadn’t really planned on this. I hadn’t seen too much about this week’s new releases, and I figured between seeing Man From U.N.C.L.E. (just when I thought I was done typing the annoying initials) on Thur and a midnight show of Repo The Genetic Opera, I’d be okay. Hitman looked skippable, and I hadn’t even seen a trailer for Ultra. But some of the publicity started to slowly come across my news feeds soon after seeing Eisenberg in The End of the Tour, jump starting a bit of a Jesse Eisenberg kick (I currently have The Social Network on in the background as I write this), so I saw the trailer and it seemed like exactly my kind of movie. That and I like Topher Grace, who we don’t see enough of.
American Ultra is an action comedy posing as a stoner comedy. I went back and forth a few times on which order that statement should be in, but the action was certainly stronger and more in the forefront. Jesse Eisenberg’s Mike lives in a tiny sleepy town with his girlfriend Phoebe (Kristin Stewart). Mike doesn’t know that he’s actually a highly trained sleeper government agent, hiding behind his constant fog of smoke. When the government order comes down to take Mike out, his agent status is activated and he finds himself deftly taking out his attackers.
It’s a pretty absurd premise, but I like absurd. It was a bit of a stretch to maintain the suspension of disbelief for so long, but I tried to go with it as best as I could. Now that I’m trying to write about specifics, I’m mostly drawing blanks, thus highlighting that it wasn’t a particularly memorable film, but it was enjoyable in the moment. Kristin Stewart has been on a redemption path with me, paying penance for her “”acting”” in Twilight. After impressing me in Still Alice, she held her ground here. Maybe I’ll take her seriously one day.
Anyways, it was certainly a fun way to mix genres that would seem otherwise unmixable. It even set things up for an unlikely but unique and intriguing sequel. Although I kinda hope it doesn’t happen, since as a standalone film, this one’s pretty cool as is.
American Ultra – \m/ \m/ \m/”