‘American Assassin’ is White Guy Vigilante Porn With Mediocre Action Scenes

8110
1
Share:

American Assassin is probably one of the laziest films in the action thriller genre in a long time. That might sound harsh but in a world of John Wick and Atomic Blonde, it’s hard to imagine that anyone involved in the making of American Assassin is proud of the finished product.

This film is based off a novel by Vince Flynn with the same name. So I'm not sure how close to the novel this film ended up being although with such an on-the-nose title as American Assassin, it’s really hard to imagine the book being that much different from the straight white male vigilante porn this film turns out to be.

Dylan O’Brien plays Mitch Rapp who shortly after proposing to his girlfriend on a beach in Spain falls victim to a terrorist attack. Islamic terrorists in bathing suits pull AK-47s out of nowhere (I’m serious) and start shooting up the patrons on the beach. Rapp’s girlfriend is killed while Rapp takes a bullet in the leg and chest (but not fatal). Now here’s where it gets fun. The film does an 18 month time jump. Rapp is now completely rehabbed from being shot in the leg and chest, he’s got abs and muscles, grew a full beard, trained in MMA, became a deadly shot with both handguns and assault rifles, has infiltrated an ISIS terrorist cell (I'm serious), learned how to speak Arabic(18 months), understands the teachings of the Koran (or at least the way ISIS teaches it) and has set up a meeting to wipe out this entire cell. Oh and this is all before he’s recruited by the CIA (I'm serious). Yes. You read that right. In 18 months Rapp has completely rehabbed and turned into a one man army…by himself with no formal training. What makes this even more ridiculous is that the movie only gets more unbelievable from there.

I like to suspend disbelief when I watch films like this but American Assassin really asks too much. A simple throwaway line at some point explaining that Rapp previously had some kind of training or skill set would have easily fixed this problem. Instead the film doubles down on the fact that Rapp has no training but still managed to infiltrate an ISIS cell. So he’s obviously (?) tagged by the CIA (They literally have his house wired with video) who monitor him and think “Wouldn’t a racist, raged fill white guy be great for our super secret assassin program?” It’s okay though because the program is the brain child of a black woman, Irene Kennedy (Sanna Lathan) who is the Deputy Assistant Director (I could be wrong on her exact title) of the CIA. She hands Rapp off to Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton) who is responsible for training Rapp into being this super secret assassin. We see Rapp training TWICE. Once at the beginning in a hand-to-hand combat drill and the next is a virtual reality simulator where Rapp (and the other super secret assassin trainees) are supposed to shoot their targets and avoid killing innocents. Rapp fails this test miserably because he’s SO RACIST he continually shoots the image of the "Islamic terrorist" even though that's not his target. Despite failing miserably and clearly being a problem, Kennedy still wants Rapp “in the field” to help stop the sale of a nuclear bomb on the black market.

Look at me, I'm spying

Now pause. Again, the movie is already out of control by this point. But here’s where it gets super lazy (I can audibly hear you screaming "It's not already lazy?"). If there really was a nuclear bomb that was moving around the black market, the CIA wouldn’t send in a barely trained, undisciplined white guy with a hard-on for shooting Muslims who is part of some super secret assassin squad. They’d send in their highly trained, well disciplined agents (who probably also have a hard-on for shooting Muslims). You don’t need a super secret assassin squad to stop a nuclear bomb being sold. You use the super secret assassins for assassinations not stopping arms deals. It just doesn’t make any sense. The entire movie you’re sitting there thinking “maybe you should call in the experts?” And before you think I’m nitpicking, its very clear that Rapp just wants to “kill him some Muslims” and has no time for actual spy work. Things like “blending in” are a foreign concept to him even though the whole purpose of Project Orion was to get people that could blend in. There’s a scene in this movie that’s a staple in all spy movies. Rapp is assigned as backup to watch and observe. He’s “undercover” with Annika (Shiva Negar) pretending to be her husband. Instead of covertly spying on his target while getting into the role, Rapp sits there and just stares down the target location sticking out like a sore thumb. It’s the spy equivalent of a quarterback staring down a receiver. Stevie Wonder would be able to make this guy out as a spy/assassin/someone up to no good. The entire film is filled with lazy moments like this. Between that and people doing dumb things like revealing their position by shooting an almost dead bad guy instead of continuing on with the mission.

I farted Mr. Keaton...but I'm trying not to show on my face how much it stinks

I might be able to forgive all this if at the very least the action scenes made it worth it. They’re not. Hi, 2002 called and it wants its Jason Bourne-style action scenes back. In a time where we get incredible action scenes in movies like John Wick or even Atomic Blonde, it’s absolutely pathetic to still get close-up, quick cut action scenes like in American Assassin. It also doesn’t help that Dylan O’Brien is completely unbelievable in the role. While watching the film O’Brien reminded me of Grant Gustin trying to cosplay as Mark Wahlberg. He has Gustin’s skinny frame but nails the Wahlberg “I farted and it stinks but I’m trying to talk through it and pretend I don’t smell it so I'm scrunching up my forehead” face. So imagine watching an entire film with that face starring back at you with unimaginative action scenes.

Michael Keaton is probably the only good thing in this film and that’s because…well, he’s Michael Keaton. He chews up scenery and at times doesn’t even fit in the movie with some of the things he does but you never really care because…he’s Michael Keaton. I feel sorry for Lathan because she deserves better than her character. To put it bluntly, her character is just stupid. I find it hard to believe that a power black woman works her way up that high in the CIA to be as stupid as Kennedy is. Oh and Taylor Kitsch is still trying to prove to everyone that he’s better than his previous stabs at being Gambit and John Carter. I feel sorry for him because, I think he actually might be. The scenes with Kitsch and Keaton were more intense and engaging than any other pairing in the movie. When you find out the back story on their characters you start to wonder if maybe that should have been the movie instead of the one that got made.

American Assassin is the warm up act for the Death Wish remake: Vigilante white guy out to workout his anger with murder and violence. In 2017, those are outdated concepts that probably never should have been greenlit for release. Death Wish at least has Bruce Willis in it and so that will get people in theaters. But American Assassin? Dylan O’Brien’s fanbase probably isn’t in the market for a movie where he gives Wahlberg faces every time he’s told he can’t just kill every Muslim guy he sees. We all deserve better than this.

Comments

comments

Kriss5
5
Share:
Charles (Kriss)

1 comment

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.