American Assassin

What is it with Hollywood and spy movies lately?  When was the last time a truly unique, original, and engaging one came along?  Lately we’ve got great characters with solid casting, and we’ve had great combat and action sequences.  The stories however, leave a lot to be desired.  The enemies and events are all interchangable and it’s getting even harder and harder to hold my attention.  Such was the plight of American Assassin.

After swearing revenge on the terrorists that took out his fiance, Dylan O’Brien gets recruited by the CIA to join a super secret elite group of superspies trained by Michael Keaton.  Bad stuff is happening somewhere in the world, and it appears to be caused by Taylor Kitsch, who is a dropout of the same superprogram.

Basically gonna be quoting my Stardust reaction here, but what the movie gets right is the cast.  Keaton may not have had much to work with, but he always elevates any movie he’s in (see also, Spider-Man: Homecoming).  Truly a formidable boss man to reckon with.  I also really liked Taylor Kitsch.  This was a meatier role for him to sink his teeth into than anything we’ve seen from him.  Okay, it might have still been generic terrorist baddie, but it’s a step up from generic sensitive pretty boy.  My point is (and I’m trying to make this a compliment) that the role fit him well and it’s some of the best we’ve seen from him.

O’Brien was actually the standout.  The boy has some serious star potential, and this is a much better showcase for that than what we’ve seen in the Maze Runner series.  True, this material still needs some work, but if he follows this path and gets a really good script with a fantastic director, he could head straight to the A list.  He carried the film well, had a lot of attitude, and nailed the combat sequences (which were all pretty much on point).

Unfortunately though, the story was too lacking.  I actually was a bit uncomfortable with the initial set up of middle eastern terrorists, because that theme has been overdone and it’s becoming really insensitive.  Somewhere along the way we changed course to Russia, so I guess slight improvement there maybe?  Still, it felt a little half baked, which is a shame.  The other elements were there to make this a killer movie, but instead it’s innocuous.

American Assassin – \m/ \m/ \n

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