American Assassin

American Assassin

Starring: Michael Keaton, Taylor Kitsch, Charlotte Vega, Dylan O’Brien, Sanaa Lathan (Rated MA – 111 min).

Not to be confused with the superior recent Tom Cruise adventure, American Made. While both are indeed based on factual incidents, they share few similarities, including entertainment value.

Adapted from the popular modern military novel from Vince Flynn, this is a terrorism story with revenge as a standpoint and behind the scenes of what goes into complete training dedication. From living what he thought was the perfect life, Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) loses his parents in a tragic accident followed by his fiancĂ©, killed in the cross fire of a vicious terrorist attack. Suddenly darkness falls across his entire existence. 

Deciding to seriously change the course of his ‘new’ life, Mitch is enlisted into the CIA by special agent Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan) as a black ops recruit. Without sharing his ulterior motives of revenge, impressing the suits, Mitch is moved to a special area of expertise to train with Cold War veteran Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton) giving plenty of tough love.

Over time, Stan becomes a mentor while the pair work on a joint mission with Turkish operatives seeking the reasoning of random attacks on military civilian targets, actually not so incidental and may be just cause for yet another Middle Eastern flare up.

The harsh realities of unsavoury individuals with ambitions to globally hurt people is scrutinised in a bleak screenplay. If you see enough of this on nightly news bulletins, don’t see this film. It is only above-average acting which is worth checking out. I certainly wouldn’t call it an action film, there are dramatic elements revolving with suspense that includes sometimes overtly violent action. 

All hail Oscar winner Keaton in anything, particularly when in serious roles. He makes an almost obtuse character here more commendable. Except the ordinary John Carter from Mars, underrated Taylor Kitsch is again good in a less than assuming part while solid moments by Charlotte Vega as Katrina show she is a cinematic star in the making. An impressive rousing score from composer Steven Price raises tension conveniently disguising certain flatness.

Not a bad film by any means. Slow at times, just mostly uninteresting with no unique energy behind motivations to proceedings, apart from the obvious. 

Shane A. Bassett

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