FILM REVIEW: AMERICAN ASSASSIN (18)

You know how the saying goes? They don’t make them like they used to? Well in this case that’s not necessarily a good thing.

This violent thriller harks back to action flicks of both the eighties and nineties – but it was probably not its intention to be such a stereotypical imitation.


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In the aftermath of the event we see Rapp go rogue to bring vengeance on these jihadists after a year of training himself in shooting galleries, MMA and all things Arabic to bring him close to his terror cell target.

But he’s actually been tracked himself by the CIA – or more specifically an unofficial special ops division led by Sanaa Lathan’s (Alien v Predator) Irene Kennedy and trained by Michael Keaton’s (Oscar nominee for Birdman) grizzled Cold War vet Stan Hurley – who want to utilise him for their own means.

So after genuinely offering up some interesting ideas in the opening fifteen minutes it then painfully descends into paint-by-numbers old school ‘under the radar’ hitman territory that provides nothing new whatsoever, just a fairly bland hunting down of a mysterious operative known as ‘Ghost’ (Lone Survivor’s Taylor Kitsch), who’s seemingly intent on starting another war in the Middle East after numerous random attacks all to find the ingredients for a nuclear device.

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O’Brien proves to be a fairly amiable lead – after doing well to come back from serious injuries that has delayed the third Maze Runner film The Death Cure – and is at least ably supported by the always reliable Keaton, and that at least makes it generally watchable throughout.

But despite a fairly smart ending, this will exit the cross-hairs of your memory as soon as you leave the cinema, which is a bit of shame as it shows pockets of modern day ingenuity and John Wick-stylised action – but sadly dominated by a story that was so twenty years ago.

This was potentially intended as a new franchise, but after this (for the most part) misses the target don’t hold your breath– as this assassin provides a bullet graze to the arm more than a clean headshot.

Gavin Miller [youtube id=”5dfcQOBJ83A” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Cast: Dylan O’brien, Michael Keaton, Taylor Kitsch, Sanaa Lathan, Scott Adkins, Shiva Negar & David Suchet

Running Time: 1 Hrs 52 Mins

Director: Michael Cuesta

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