Boy (Dylan O'Brien) sees her fiancé killed in terrorist attack and vows bloody revenge. He becomes a CIA counterterrorism agent, training under the seasoned pro (Michael Keaton) whose past suddenly returns to haunt him. Also starring: Yousef 'Joe' Sweid, Sanaa Lathan, David Suchet, Taylor Kitsch, Shiva Negar. Along Renegades", this is one of the good recent actioneers that has a risk of not finding an audience it deserves. Probably because everybody thinks that yeah, trailer ain't bad, but we've seen enough stuff like this. But wide release is actually around the corner yet, so let's hope for the best. American Assassin" may have a very typical action thriller trailer, and it's true that the story is made of clichés mostly, but the result is actually very enjoyable. The action is bloody and satisfying, the actors are good and charming, and the characters are just interesting enough to make you care. Almost all of the spy or secret agent action movies I've seen do the mistake of being pretty watchable for the most part but ruining the end: * introducing too many surprise twists to explain the events (= lazy storytelling), * taking itself too seriously (= becoming increasingly dull or heavy- handed), * or favoring often seen tired (how many times have you seen a final shootout on the roof of the building while it's raining, for example?). American Assassin" never drops the baton, or pacing for that matter, which makes it fresher than most of its ilk. Also, the movie wins greatly by having three cool but not that widely known male actors in leads, one of them older and two younger. Let's examine them one by one, shall we? Kitsch is surely one of the greatest American action stars still unrecognized by the wider audience. He's got the muscle, the looks, the charm – what's not to like? If only his part was bigger. This is the only sad thought I had when the movie ended. You remember Kitsch from Friday Night Lights" series, HBO's True Detective" season 2, John Carter" (as John Carter), Battleship", Oliver Stone's Savages", and The Lone Survivor". Still can't quite recall the face? Told you so. One of the unregonignized greats. Dylan O'Brien in the lead is a star of long-running Teen Wolf" series and also appears in The Maze Runner" trilogy. It's good to see him starring in a movie now, and he looks fit to kick ass too! I totally bought him as a young hero. And last but not the least, let's bow down to Michael Keaton, one of the more charismatic movie stars of 1980's and 1990's who's probably not that well-known anymore. But he has lost none of the charm. This measured performance of ruthless counterterrorism veteran is probably the most memorable thing in the movie overall. Maybe it's time for Keaton revival? He's appeared in quite good projects lately – Birdman", Spotlight", The Founder". Playing Vulture in newest Spider-Man" did not probably hurt either, at least not his bank account. All in all, this movie is one of the rare positive examples where tired and overused clichés find a new life thanks to committed movie makers – CIA, terrorists, trained to kill, nuclear threat, plutonium and all the other blah blah blah is not interesting just by itself anymore. The young hero of American Assassin" is actually the central character of so far 15 popular political thriller novels, so with any future commercial success, we may have witnessed a birth of a new action man who is interesting enough to compete with Jason Bourne, Jack Ryan, or the others. Director Michael Cuesta is also known for 2011's Roadie" and 2014's Kill the Messenger", look them up, both are interesting. So what if the movie is not exactly original? It's watchable and fresh, and the explosive ending is a joy to witness!
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