There are three factors to a spy thriller action-packed film and that is the following: mystery, suspense and victory. Michael Cuesta’s (Kill the Messenger) new action thriller film American Assassin tells the story of how protagonist Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) avenges the death of his fiancé Katrina (Charlotte Vega). Will American Assassin dominate or be equal to the renowned spy thrillers such as the Bourne Trilogy, Skyfall, Casino Royale and Munich; or will the overall plot assassinate it’s own potential?
First off, after Rapp’s fiancé’s murder; he abandons his college education to train himself in learning martial arts, Arabic and other marksmanship- his artistry is what gets him the recognition to be recruited by the CIA, after CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan) keeps a close eye on his physical and athletic progress. Rapp then gets trained by Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton), an observant and cautious ex-Navy SEAL. Kennedy then enlists them plus other recruits to hunt down enemies, foes, and all things villain-y. They end up trying to take down the movie’s nemesis, Ghost (Taylor Kitsch); who was in the same CIA program as Rapp but went rogue; resented his mentor (Hurley) and sought to take his own revenge in an extremely evil manner.
The overall action for this film is both exceptional and scarring at the same time, with the initial shooting scene at the beach full of innocent vacationers, which takes us back to the real-life shooting at Tunisia beach in 2015; to Rapp’s fiancé tragically shot at the same time. It does stir an immense aura of fear and sorrow towards Rapp, his fiancé, and the beachgoers who lost their lives. The movie does touch a few vulnerable political topics including Islamic terrorism, suitcase nuclear devices, and even more terrorism; this can provoke some controversy between both the left and ring wing since the topics that Cuesta incorporated into the film can be heavily misinterpreted so in terms of the film being politically aware- it unfortunately does not succeed in that department.
Furthermore, despite the action being utilized well in the film- the script was however the complete opposite. Generic lines such as “you’ll learn how to play with the big boys,” can certainly come across as cheesy or too vague for authentic character development. I reckon that the script may have been a large contributing factor towards the hindrance of this movie’s success because no one can deny that the cast are a very talented bunch- but I’m afraid some elements failed to bring their characters to life.
Nevertheless, the action and suspense throughout the movie was great, upbeat and vibrant- it was what kept me hanging onto the climax (which was ironically anti-climactic) but unfortunately the script and controversial plot wore thin. It is a shame due to the talented cast but hey- it was a worthy effort!