The following review for action film, American Assassin, is written by Ben Wilson, a contributor to Attack On Geek. Here are his thoughts on the film.
A name like ‘American Assassin’ didn’t exactly reassure me of this film’s ingenuity. If the name was was going to be boringly unsubtle, one could probably place a high bet the film itself was going to be so too.
I like leaving some cynical leeway in such circumstances in case of surprises, but American Assassin really lived up to its name.
This is a story about nukes. A story so classically familiar you would be well justified in dismissing it on that information alone. Even if the subject matter has more relevance than a year ago, a story this customary with little to differentiate itself doesn’t make the imperative threat any more imperative or threatening after all this time.
American Assassin is very much going for the same vein as Taken or Bourne with sly choreography and resourceful espionage. Like its overarching plot, the main components comprising this action movie are only serviceable enough to subsist. You’ve probably seen better elsewhere, especially if you’ve any kind of action education – especially if you’ve seen John Wick.
The only thing to stand out from this amazingly standard movie is the length it main character goes to pursue revenge. Albeit revenge is hardly a groundbreaking theme, but many films start their characters with hate-filled motivations, only to get distracted soon after. Whereas American Assassin insists revenge remains important, and relentlessly so – enough to explain the lead’s irrational and unlikeable behaviour.
A lead who’s not unlikeable in of himself. He’s even surrounded by some prestigious talent. But an actor can only do their part, and the skills of Michael Keaton and Taylor Kitsch (that guy from John Carter) cannot heal the wounds this film suffers from – they can only dress them.
The first act even showed potential of something interestingly decent, but eventually reins back in exchange for a story about geo-political terror. Like a primal revenge story that could’ve been something special to witness, only to restrain itself for a mistaken sense of cataclysm to consequently join the league of B-grade banality.