American Assassin Review

American Assassin (2017) Movie Review by Stephen McLaughlin


Director: Michael Cuesta
Writers: Stephen Schiff (screenplay by), Michael Finch (screenplay by)
Stars: Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan, Taylor Kitsch, David Suchet

I finally got round to viewing “American Assassin” as it was one that I had my eye on for a while and I was of course looking forward to watching. Primarily because of Michael Keaton’s involvement. It’s no secret that the actor is having a resurgence in his career at the moment with the successful “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”, “The Founder” as Ray Kroc and playing Adrian Toomes / Vulture in “Spider-Man: Homecoming”

I’ve always been a fan of Keaton since I saw him portray BeetleJuice (don’t dare say it three times) and I knew that this was more a supporting role to the main character of Mitch Rapp (O’Brien) and to be honest this movie had a great opening with after the death of his girlfriend at the hands of terrorists, Mitch is drawn into the world of counterterrorism, mentored by tough-as-nails former U.S. Navy S.E.A.L. Stan Hurley (Keaton)

To be honest this was as good as it got. I thought the terror attack on the beach was well laid out and very gritty and realistic. At best “American Assassin” was very average and albeit a nice opening became a nonsensical plot with minimum effort and what looked like a rushed climatic battle.

I expected Mitch Rapp to be a more fleshed out character who is haunted and determined to seek revenge. Don’t get me wrong he is that to an extent but him being discovered and sent away to train under the Cold War veteran Stan Hurley all felt hurried along and to be honest I accepted that just to finally get Michael Keaton in on the action. Dylan O’Brien was okay as Rapp and did his best but up against Keaton you can see the gap between the experienced and the young actor.

This may sound harsh but eliminate Keaton from the cast and you have a very average movie with an average cast. Even the inclusion of actor David Suchet as Director Stansfield added nothing interesting to the plot. Taylor Kitsch as Ghost was Hurley’s previous understudy but came off petulant and predictable.

Director Michael Cuesta’s previous work was mostly in television in Six Feet Under, Dexter and Homeland. I previously reviewed his 2014 movie “Kill the Messenger” which was okay and “American Assassin” was similar in its style. Although pacing was never an issue on Kill the Messenger I felt part of this movie was rushed and disorientating.

Overall the movie promised so much and failed to deliver. The action sequences were decent but the pacing of the movie was a little over the place and the ending felt over before it began as if everyone got bored very quickly and just wanted to wrap things up as fast as possible. I would’t say don’t watch this movie if you are a fan one Michael Keaton as he has the best lines and scenes and I wouldn’t exactly highly recommend it either as the movie offers nothing but some decent action scenes.

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