AMERICAN ASSASSIN (5/10)
Admittedly I didn’t have high expectations for this, but decided to take a chance and hope for the best. I really shouldn’t have bothered.
At the beginning of American Assassin we see Mitch (Dylan O’Brian, ‘The Maze Runner’) on a beach with his girlfriend. Like a Randy Orton RKO, out of nowhere chaos ensues. It was shocking, violent and quite graphic. I sat up in my chair thinking this might actually be my cup of tea. Unfortunately it was downhill from there as Mitch decides it’s his role to take down as many terrorists as he can. He’s a man with a particular set of skills and an attitude that the CIA need, so there recruit him. He is sent to train with somebody called Stan (Michael Keaton, ‘Beetlejuice’), who must then use him on an official CIA counterterrorism assignment.
Despite the exciting opening, I found myself surprisingly bored by the majority of the movie. There was plenty of action, but it all felt hollow. The plot itself was ridiculous and felt like a script from a middle of the road 90’s action flick. It was the standard revenge movie we’ve all seen done better many times before. There’s very little I can say about the story because there’s very little actually worth discussing.
It doesn’t help when the main characters are so dull. O’Brian was terrible as the lead. He looked like he was trying, but the script was so bad he was fighting a losing battle from the beginning. What annoys me, as a fan of the ‘Maze Runner’ films, is that the 3rd movie was delayed until 2018 because O’Brian injured himself while filming this rubbish. If he’d injured himself for a good movie then fair enough, but for this it just wasn’t worth it.
I’ve been championing Keaton since his return. I thought he was great in ‘Birdman’, ‘Spotlight’ and should have been Oscar nominated for ‘The Founder’. He was pretty decent in ‘Spiderman: Homecoming’ too. However in this he looks like a completely different guy. He’s obviously a good actor, so why did I feel like he was acting in a panto? It was so over the top, I felt like I was watching Keaton acting, as opposed to watching his character – if that makes sense.
One of the main villains was called Ghost (Taylor Kitsch, ‘Friday Night Lights’). Despite apparently being this major character, there was very little of him in the film. He popped up every now and again and then there was a sequence later on with Keaton, but frankly Kitsch was wasted. His character was set up reasonably well, but then just completely underutilised. The same has to be said for the female characters. Sanaa Lathan & Shiva Negar were given poorly written characters (even worse than the men) which was difficult for them to make anything good out of.
However poor the film was, I could understand why actors previously mentioned would sign up for it. There was one face however that when I saw it I thought “it can’t be him, surely”; but it was. Why on Earth is David Suchet (Agatha Christie’s Poirot) in this dross? One of the most respected actors the UK has produced; I can’t imagine what made him think this would be a good idea. I wouldn’t have thought he needed the money, but I guess it depends how much he was offered. Baffling!
It’s certainly one of the poorest films I’ve seen so far this year. It might not finish in my end of year worst 10, but nonetheless it should be avoided at all costs.
My name is Scott Forbes. I’m from Aberdeen, Scotland. I started The Forbes Film Review as a fun way simply to share my passion for movies with some friends. It’s now become a hobby which allows me discuss the latest films with people from all over the world.