After the death of his girlfriend at the hands of terrorists, Mitch Rapp is drawn into the world of counterterrorism, mentored by tough-as-nails former U.S. Navy S.E.A.L. Stan Hurley.After the death of his girlfriend at the hands of terrorists, Mitch Rapp is drawn into the world of counterterrorism, mentored by tough-as-nails former U.S. Navy S.E.A.L. Stan Hurley.After the death of his girlfriend at the hands of terrorists, Mitch Rapp is drawn into the world of counterterrorism, mentored by tough-as-nails former U.S. Navy S.E.A.L. Stan Hurley.
American Assassin follows Author Vince Flynn's character Mitch Rapp (Dylan O'Brien) and his mentor Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton) who leads a super secret CIA operative group tasked to take out the world's most threatening bad guys - A secret camp in the wooded hills near Roanoke, Virginia provides a select group of hand-picked field operatives (assassins) with elite specialized training (for assassins) that supposedly exceeds Navy Seals training in sophistication of infiltrating and blending into targeted zones, with a killing effectiveness that surpasses Bourne and Bond.
One problem here - when you take on two of the most successful action franchises in movie history (Bourne and Bond), you better have your ducks in a row (including most importantly the script), and that is where this film fails.
The screenwriter needed to produce a more cohesive script in adapting Flynn's prequel book. The film looks and sounds like it was rushed to production before the script and story boards were thought through and revised.
Time is money, but not investing enough time sometimes leads to losing your entire investment, and if the desired outcome was a green light for a franchise, the "fail" here was in the script.
Michael Keaton holds this film up, and although I have a hard time seeing him in the role, he pulled it off with his trade-mark push-the-envelope edginess.
O'Brien was at first, hard to swallow in the role with his quiet vulnerable demeanor and school age heartthrob looks (with some edgy outlier undertones) that have made him so popular with millennials. But he frankly did an admirable job, and is the most promising element of the film in terms of franchising this into sequels. Not many lines of dialogue, but like Bourne, Rapp speaks loudly with his fists, feet, intelligence, wiliness, and willingness.
The make-up was amazing in portraying an ever growing number of cuts, bruises, gashes, and other assorted traumas accrued by the cast - realistic, accurate and impressive - among the best ever in film.
Action/fight/vehicle chase scenes were well above par as were the special effects and CGI (only one scene leans fully on CGI and was well done).
Cinematography and editing are very good, and the pacing of the film is excellent for the most part.
My guess is this is a one and done film, but what a shame, as there is great potential for an American Assassin franchise, and this is one if the best recent additions to the action genre, especially given more time to complete the film at a 007 level.
The director and screenwriter(s) need to get it together though, IF there is a sequel - the script is the weakest point, usually a death nail for my reviews, but the director, cinematographer, make-up, and fx make up a lot of ground in that regard.
For the hope of more (and better), I'm giving one additional Star bringing this 7-Star film up to 8/10.
- Jul 22, 2019