“Patriotism exists because people like and people like me need a higher cause. Something bigger than us.”
American Assassin, based on the novel from Vince Flynn, tells the story of a young man named Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) seeking revenge against the terrorists that murdered his fiancé. After being trained by a Gulf War veteran (Michael Keaton) the young man must prove to the FBI that he is able to cooperate out in the field and gain access to a dangerous mercenary who has stolen a nuclear bomb.
There is not much to describe with this film, because it’s pretty straight forward. American Assassin opens with a couple on the beach celebrating a perfect holiday. These two are so much in love, Mitch proposes to her, giving a storyline that would tug at your heartstrings. But what this film gets wrong about 80% of the time, is that it just falls into that cavern of action movie clichés. The film begins with the typical, “the love of my life was murdered, so now I must seek vengeance on those people who ruined my life.” As I said before, it is based on a book, so I won’t fault the film too much for its unoriginal script. But I will say this, the direction in this film was amateur and mediocre, to say the least. American Assassin wants so badly to be a heroic tale of a broken-hearted man who seek vengeance on those who killed his fiancé. Then, because he’s just so good at killing those gosh darn terrorists, the FBI recruits him for a “warrior” program.
The actors in the film are nothing to write home about. O’Brien, who plays our main character, does a decent job portraying this vengeful man. Though the overacting comes through a little too much, O’Brien is at least tolerable throughout the whole film. As for Taylor Kitsch, who plays the problematic villain in the movie, the audience is led to believe – constantly – that this dangerous mercenary is just too inexperienced to be taken seriously. Kitsch is becoming a little worn out in the fact that he has been playing the same type of character recently. But it was Keaton’s character of being this bad ass veteran and trained warrior that seemed to redeem this movie. His character doesn’t shy away from being an asshole, and because of that mentality, you can say it leads to why our villain became bad.
American Assassin never came close to making it on my Most Anticipated movies for 2017. And with that being said, there are more than a few short falls with this movie. However, I was going into this film expecting the worst, and it really wasn’t. This is a mindless film. You can go into the theater, turn your brain off and enjoy. Though some parts of it are laughable when the film is trying to be edgy or dramatic, I will say that this film could have been so much worse. American Assassin is not a bad movie, but it’s not good. This is one big smorgasbord of mindless entertainment served with a side of cliches.
Directed by: Michael Cuesta
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Taylor Kitsch, and Michael Keaton