American Assassin (2017)
Directed by Michael Cuesta
Based on the novel American Assassin by Vince Flynn
Screenplay by Stephen Schiff, Michael Finch, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan, Shiva Negar, Taylor Kitsch
Mitch Rapp (O’Brien) finds himself drawn into the dangerous world of counter-terrorism after a personal tragedy. Now he’s working with a team led by a seasoned operative (Keaton) seeking to stop a major attack.
This film is an adaptation of Vince Flynn’s 2010 novel of the same name. The screenplay was put together by Stephen Schiff (True Crime), Michael Finch (The November Man), Edward Zwick (The Siege), and Marshall Herskovitz (Jack Reacher: Never Go Back). Michael Cuesta (Kill the Messenger) directed the film. The cast includes Dylan O’Brien (Deepwater Horizon), Michael Keaton (Spotlight), and Sanaa Lathan (Contagion). Shiva Negar (Let’s Rap) and Taylor Kitsch (Lone Survivor) are also featured.
This story was written by a group of writers and has an unfinished feel to it. The characters are interesting, and the initial moments of the film are strong. Unfortunately, the movie seems to take an unexpected detour away from the logical plot. This leaves the rest of the film feeling unexpected and somewhat hollow. There are some good moments, but this one just doesn’t have much depth. The end result of all this is a film that doesn’t seem to have much direction or any effective twists.
The actors did just about as much as possible with this material. Dylan O’Brien does a nice job with a role complicated by the shifting story focus. Michael Keaton also adds to the film with his solid work. The rest of the cast also do work. Unfortunately there are a number of roles that fit into stereotypes that leave this feeling campy and somewhat lazy. The good and the bad just about cancel each other out in this one.
This film features some good action sequences but is otherwise lacking in anything exciting or new. While the production is solid, there just isn’t much to it. The end result is a somewhat underwhelming film that might be a bit disappointing if you wanted substance. Fans of the stars might find a few good moments to enjoy. In the end, this is a film that lacks direction and a clear identity. I give this one 2.9 out of 5 stars.