Movie Review: American Assassin (2017)

Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton and Taylor Kitsch

Directed by: Michael Cuesta

After the death of his girlfriend at the hands of a terrorist attack in Spain, Mitch Rapp is recruited by the CIA as part of their counter terrorism division. With the right training and ability to channel his anger he has the potential to change the world for the better.

American Assassin possessed quite an interesting story although at times it did feel as though I had seen the movie before but overall I thought it did well to try and set itself apart from other movies within the action genre. Dylan O’Brien, who is most known from The Maze Runner franchise, takes the lead as Mitch Rapp who witnesses his girlfriend die at the hands of terrorists in a beach attack in Spain and since then he has spent the past 18 months of his life trying to get even with those responsible. He has a personal vendetta against all things terrorist and appears on the CIA’s radar as a potential asset. He’s taken under the wing of Vietnam veteran and CIA agent trainer Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton) in order to put his skills and determination to good use. While still training there’s news of nuclear grade plutonium being traded on the black market and with little time to spare Stan must take Mitch on his first mission and hope that he’s ready for the sake of the world.

The acting all round was pretty good and although the movie did fall into quite a few cliche traps the story was told well and at a very good pace. The one cliche that I absolute hate in these kinds of movies is when the new recruit is described along he lines of “I’ve never seen anybody like this before” which suggests that all current and former agents are inferior to this new kid because why? He has a chip on his shoulder because something terrible happened to him. It does frustrate me when good action movies still rely on some old and ridiculous cliches. The fighting scenes were very good to watch and full of mix martial arts manoeuvres which looked very well choreographed especially the final fight scene on the boat between Mitch and Ghost (Taylor Kitsch). Initially I was a little unsure with Michael Keaton’s casting as a bad ass former Navy Seal but the more I saw of him throughout the movie the more I realised he was a great choice for the role and the scene where he was getting tortured was brutally awesome, unless your of the squeamish variety.

Many of the negative reviews I’ve seen regarding American Assassin all talk about the movie not staying true to the original source which was a series of novels written by Vince Flynn. I don’t understand why people who love a book want to see it word for word page for page the exact same in movie format and while the movie should honour the book and roughly follow the general flow and direction it takes, to expect it to be the exact same is a little absurd if you ask me.

Overall, American Assassin was a good action thriller that’s packed full of drama and excitement. It’s rated R and definitely deserves that rating with the sheer amount of bloody violence throughout the movie. Wasn’t expecting much from American Assassin but came away having enjoyed the experience.

7/10

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