THREE STARS Following the death of his fiancée at the hands of terrorists, a man decides to hunt down the group’s leader.
Starring Dylan O'Brien and Michael Keaton
There’s a been-here, seen-it feel to just about every scene in AMERICAN ASSASSIN, a MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE for the terrorist age. Of course, there’s something to be said for formula movies, assuming you like them by the numbers and riddled with clichés. Even the solid appearance of Michael Keaton (a Renaissance man in the purest sense of the word) can’t give this airport-novel-turned-film enough back bone to scare off the possibility that this violent outing is little more than torture porn; Keaton’s fingernails would no doubt agree. It kicks off on a Spanish beach when Mitch Rapp (MAZE RUNNER’s pumped up Dylan O’Brien) witnesses the cold-blooded death of his girlfriend at the hands of terrorists. He vows revenge and then catches the eye of a secret wing of CIA operatives led by tough nut Keaton. They’ve got an ideal mission for Rapp: help shutdown an Iranian deal to acquire a nuclear weapon. Before you can say puh-leaze, the team has visited half the world, the body-count has gone sky high, a red timer is counting down and the US Sixth Fleet is about to be annihilated. See above re formula, cliché and airport novels. There’s a lot that this story could have said about terrorism and radicalisation from both sides, as well as the seductive appeal of vigilante action. It hints at it, but prefers to hurt a lot of people and blow things up instead. While marginally entertaining, AMERICAN ASSASSIN is ultimately a wasted opportunity.