In a time of political warfare and strife, the world needs heroes to arise to help curb the actions tension may lead to. Movies being a great source advertisement for hero portrayal would certainly look to developing a political warrior, peacemaker, or some warrior of the word. Nope, that doesn’t sell, so let’s make another super-agent instead. Robbie K again, and today we review American Assassin, the action thriller of September starring Dylan O’Brien and Michael Keaton. Let’s get started!
Immersive Presentation: One of the things I liked most with this movie how I felt integrated into the whole program that Mitch (O’Brien) is going through. From the horrific tragedy that send him down the vigilante pathway to the indoctrinating mission that sets his path, you’ll get all the emotional rides that come with it. As Mitch evolves as a character, you too get entangled in the complex web of emotions, all while feeling like a spy thanks to the intertwining scenes of spy technology digging up dirt on the target. Pretty cool indeed.
Fast Pace: I guess a quick pace is good when it comes to action films huh? American Assassin throws few roadblocks into the simple and linear plot it is based on. One will go from point A to Point F faster than a kid connecting the dots, with little to try and take your attention away. Editors get props for keeping the tangent story lines at a minimum and keeping them relevant to bring you more thrills, spills, and kills.
Acting: With Keaton’s resurgence back into Hollywood these last few years, you hope he brings some magic to the screen, right? I felt he did a decent job playing the disgruntled, elite military man with a chip on his shoulder and a moral weight greater than the U.S. Debt. You’ll feel the angst and vigor within him, especially when it comes during the action scenes where he takes leader commands. It is O’Brien who kind of steals the show though. As a vigilante youth looking to make his own justice, O’Brien’s acting is on point for representing the “enthusiasm” the modern world breeds today. As an action hero, you’ll get that candor of bravado, raw emotion, and determination we all like to take point on. And as the female audience members whispered in the air, “he looks so hot” doing it to. Their chemistry together is a big driving factor as well, heated to keep tension going and establish a dynamic that keeps you wondering what happens next.
Rushed: While the pace is fast, it is also a little too fast to really meld you into the story. I did feel integrated into the program, but at the same time I had difficulty with connecting to the character development role. The rushed pace gives you little in terms of backstory and internal though process, that most of the characters feel like robotic shells instead of the people that the book crafted. This is especially true with the supporting characters, who despite being heavily integrated, are just background characters who say a few things before being lost to the stunts. Fast can be good, but fast can be so bad.
Predictability: Despite all the hype the trailers promised, there wasn’t much in terms of surprise in this movie. I agree with my friends, that there isn’t much surprise to this film, merely a long-winded battle between spiteful parties. Where my hopes were dashed, is that an agent of the antagonist’s caliber would pull a few more surprises from his hat to mix up the pursuit and try to fool elite agent Keaton. Sadly, the adaptation was all about cramming stunts than strategy into the movie, leaving us stranded with a predictable assortment of sequences and scenes. I guess everyone can’t be the Dark Knight’s Joker huh?
Mediocre action: Perhaps I set this bar high, but the trailers promised me high adrenaline stunts and espionage warfare that would leave me on the edge of my seat. Unfortunately, the hype didn’t live up for me. American Assassin’s fights have some edge in their violence and viciousness, but past that there isn’t any impressive choreography, unique stunts, or even proper length to the fire fights outside of maybe one battle. These short quips fit in well with the design of the movie, but at least make them suspenseful, or high adrenaline to keep me invested in the urgency of the situation. Most will enjoy the action to this film, happy with the satisfying thrill of killing terrorists, but I like a little more budget in the stunts for me.
American Assassin is a decent movie, low key enough to pull more people in, but also spicy enough to bring that satisfaction to the mercenary loving group. The prideful presentation of country pride, political espionage, and killing terrorists will get many feeling great, only further vitalized by the acting. However, the predictable plot, rushed development and mediocre action weren’t up to the challenge of making this movie epic for me. Chances are the book has a lot more meat and content to it, but movie wise you can save this one for a home streaming service and be just as entertained.
Movie Overall: 5.5