AMERICAN ASSASSIN follows the rise of Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien), a CIA black ops recruit under the instruction of Cold War veteran Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton). The pair is then enlisted by CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan) to investigate a wave of apparently random attacks on both military and civilian targets. Together the three discover a pattern in the violence leading them to a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent (Shiva Negar) to stop a mysterious operative (Taylor Kitsch) intent on starting a World War.
What We Thought:
I thought the trailer for American Assassin looked really good. With a cast that includes Michael Keaton, the underrated Taylor Kitsch and Dylan O’Brien, who for some reason I actually like, I was genuinely looking forward to the film. Unfortunately the film is just plain generic.
That is hands down the best word to describe the movie, generic. There is nothing original, new or exciting about it whatsoever. It’s based on a series of books that I’ve never read and it’s clearly aiming to be the beginning of a franchise, but I don’t know if it’s going to work out that way.
Dylan O’Brien is perfectly fine as Mitch Rapp, a man whose girlfriend is killed by terrorists and he sets out for vengeance. This is a younger version of Rapp and from what I’ve seen online, the girlfriend storyline is different in the books. O’Brien looks and acts the part well. He’s not yet Jason Bourne, but he’s getting there. He handles the action well I just wish there was more to it for him.
Same for Keaton and Kitsch. Keaton plays the “My Way or the Highway” type instructor and at this point can do a character like this in his sleep. Kitsch takes a turn from his normal good guy persona. He’s actually a bad guy in this one and he’s not bad either.
It’s just unfortunate that there’s nothing original whatsoever in the movie. Rapp wants revenge on a group of Muslim terrorists, the US government wants to take advantage of that rage. Kitsch is a good guy turned bad because of how he was treated. It’s all just very basic. O’Brien has flashes of potential with some martial arts moves and he handles a gun with ease, but by the time it was over, I was glad it was over.
There’s also a complete and unnecessary CGI monstrosity at the end that’s very laughable. It involves an explosion and boats and it felt so out-of-place compared to the rest of the movie. By then I didn’t really care for the film so it made my enjoyment level even less.
I’m not sure what American Assassin will do for numbers. I’m not exactly sure who it’s aimed at. IT will chew it up and steamroll it at the box office. I don’t think it will do much overseas because O’Brien just isn’t big enough at this point. The Jason Bourne franchise, Jack Reacher, Mission: Impossible and others have done this exact thing for years. I’m not sure if people want another franchise.
Cast & Crew:
- Dylan O’Brien
- Michael Keaton
- Taylor Kitsch