FILM REVIEW: American Assassin

Now in cinemas, American Assassin.
Now in cinemas, American Assassin.

Who can we call when Jason Bourne, Jack Reacher and Jack Ryan aren’t around to save the day?

Well maybe new counter terrorist on the block Mitchell Rapp (Dylan ‘The Maze Runner’ O’Brien) ...

Rapp has had a tough life, he lost his parents to a tragic car accident at the age of 14, and his girlfriend to a horrific beach terrorist attack just moments after they got engaged.

Fuelled by revenge, he joins the CIA in order to carry out black ops and take the fight back to the baddies.

His killing skills are honed by ex-Navy SEAL Stan Hurley (Michael ‘Spiderman: Homecoming’ Keaton) and then he’s set the task of thwarting a massive nuclear threat after weapons-grade plutonium is stolen and offered to Middle Eastern terrorists.

Director Michael Cuesta who made the superb ’12 And Holding’ delivers a crunching action thrill ride which mixes heavy duty violence with lots of tried and tested action film staples.

It does feel a bit ‘haven’t we seen this all before’ in places but there is an energy that keeps it all ticking along.

O’Brien makes a good renegade hero, Keaton is on top form as his grizzled mentor and the radicalized big bad guy of the piece ‘Ghost’ (Taylor Kitsch) brings some good threat.

Girl power is represented both by feisty CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan) and slinky co-field operative Annika (Shiva Negar).

Everything looks good and is competently put together – so it’s weird that American Assassin never quite engages as much as it should, what with the fate of the whole world in the balance as we face the threat of a nuclear war.

One dubiously effective thing the film has going for it is that it does use its 18 certificate well and it gets suitably nasty, from the hard to watch beach massacre through to some grim torture scenes and brutal hand-to-hand combat.

If you’re tired of the neutered ‘12’ certificate action of late then this will at least make you grimace at the on screen violence.

If this makes enough money there are another 15 or so books in the same series so we could very well see more American Assassin antics. It’s a big ‘if’ though as with high caliber big screen competition from the new Kingsman – this might be more at home on your TV.

Rating: 3/5

Review by Matt Adlock