American Assassin (FILM)

Director: Michael Cuesta

Stars: Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan, Taylor Kitsch

American Assassin is a fast-paced, high-octane spy thriller adapted from Vince Flynn’s bestselling Mitch Rapp series. Directed by Michael Cuesta, the film follows the journey of Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) as he transforms from a college student suffering a personal tragedy into a ruthless, highly-trained counter-terrorism operative.

Dylan O’Brien’s performance as the lead character is commendable. He successfully portrays the raw intensity, determination, and grit of Rapp, bringing depth to the character’s intense personal motivation. The film offers O’Brien, who has been associated with the young adult genre in films like The Maze Runner, a chance to flex his acting muscles in a more mature and grittier role. He carries the emotional weight of the character effectively while still delivering in the action sequences.

Michael Keaton as Stan Hurley, Rapp’s tough-as-nails mentor, is another standout. His performance brings a raw and rugged charm, coupled with an intensity that fits well with the tone of the movie. Keaton’s and O’Brien’s on-screen chemistry brings out the mentor-student dynamic effectively, adding another layer of engagement to the story.

The film’s action sequences are well-crafted, providing the expected adrenaline rush. They are gritty, fast-paced, and don’t shy away from the brutality, reflecting the high stakes of the world that Rapp operates in. While the film does fall into some of the genre’s typical tropes, the action scenes are compelling enough to keep the audience invested.

However, where American Assassin stumbles is in its plot development. While it aims to bring the complexity and depth of Flynn’s novel to the screen, it ends up feeling rushed and at times, underdeveloped. Some plot elements and character motivations could have been explored in more depth to provide a richer, more engaging narrative. This occasionally leaves the audience wanting more from the story.

The cinematography effectively captures the various international locales and the darker tone of the film. The score works well in accentuating the tension and pacing of the film, particularly during the action scenes.

In conclusion, American Assassin is an engaging action-thriller with strong performances from its lead actors. While it struggles with some narrative elements, its well-executed action sequences and the intriguing introduction of the character Mitch Rapp make it worth watching, particularly for fans of the genre or the original book series. It offers a potentially solid starting point for a new action franchise centered around the compelling character of Mitch Rapp.