When AMERICAN ASSASSIN comes out in about a month, I urge you to go and check it out in theaters. It a rip and roaring, non-stop action thrill ride whose pace never lets you go. It’s also a turn your brain off kind of sit back and eat popcorn type of good old fashioned entertainment. But it isn’t XXX Vin Diesel kind of cheesy. The film is a giant box packed to brim with tension and fantastic performances. Dylan O’Brian proves that he can ultimately get away from his Teen Wolf status, while Michael Keaton goes full on Michael Keaton at some points in the film where you wish he would just come back and do a sequel to Beetlejuice. A fun yet tense time at the movies.
Boy is the beginning of the film extremely hard to watch. If you’ve seen the previews, you know that Mitch Rapp (played by Dylan O’Brian is on vacation with his girlfriend when a bunch of terrorists come up on to the vacation beach resort and just start mowing down civilians with machine guns. And they do not cut away. It makes your heart pound knowing shit like this has happened in real life, and makes the audience sympathy with his character that much more interesting. He decides that he wants to get his revenge after seeing the main terrorist shoot his girlfriend down so for 12 months he prepares, extreme and non-stop. He gets the attention of the CIA and a special ops type of agent played by Sanaa Lathan, who recruits him and puts him under a man named Stan Hurley (Keaton) who trains the shit out of him for missions. When plutonium is stolen, Hurley and Rapp try to get to the bottom of it, finding out that a pupil (played by Taylor Kitsch) who was once under Hurley’s wing, is behind it all. And they have to stop it.
Yeah, the plot sounds generic with the whole stopping the bomb in time and stuff like that, but the journey is fantastic. The movie is long enough to have great action beats, character development, and fantastic thrills, without going Michael Bay overboard. And no, Bay doesn’t have anything to do with this film. Within the story there are a couple of twists that I didn’t see coming, and one of the twists is a nice “gotcha” moment that you think is going to go a cliched way that has been done before, but ends up going a different route.
I love that this moved never let up. It’s one of the action films you will actually remember, instead of the ones that have a great action scene at the beginning, too much flub and exposition in the middle, and then one of those anti-climatic endings that you can see from miles away. And I am loving Michael Keaton these past couple of years. He has gotten his career back and he is going full force masterful on us. First Spider-Man this year and now this. And there a couple of moments were Keaton goes full on bug-eyed, I don’t give a fuck Keaton moments from the 80s (like the original Batman, “You wanna get nuts?! Come on, let’s get nuts!) that had me laughing loud and hard.
American Assassin is the action movie of the early fall. I loved every minute of it and its one of those action pieces I could find on television one day and sit and watch all the way through again (I’m probably going to buy it anyway). What a roller coaster ride. Apparently, this was adapted from a long series of novels and if it does well we should be getting sequels. Please, see this, make it successful so we can get those sequels. But for now I’ll start reading the novels anyway. Please, see this in a month.