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"American Assassin" Movie Review

Updated on December 17, 2021
Alec Zander profile image

Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.

The trailers looked fantastic. They made the movie look emotional and powerful. The end result? Logically unsound material covered with fantastic action. Don't get me wrong, there were some powerful moments and there were some thought-provoking moments but the film suffers in the last 30 minutes or so due to the fact that an illogical solution was used to move the film along.

American Assassin centers on Mitch Rapp, a young man who lost the love of his life to terrorism then took it upon himself to rid the world of terrorists. He went full out, learning everything about the extremists and their beliefs, learning Arabic, and training himself to be a lethal death machine.

I'll start with the positives. The opening scene is emotional and punches you right in the heart. It accomplishes what it's supposed to. It makes you feel for Mitch and you understand his need for revenge. Next, the lessons that Michael Keaton's character Stan Hurley teach are valuable and you can apply them to everyday life. In one instance, speaking of killing for revenge, he says, "When you start liking it, then what are you left with?" Apply that to life. If you go down a wrong path, even if it's for the right reasons, you can still lose yourself. Then when you start liking it, it's no longer for the right reasons. It's a powerful line that will sadly probably be overlooked by most viewers. FInally, the stunts and action were fantastic. Everyone was on top of their game, even Michael Keaton who proves that age is just a number.

Now for the negatives. The biggest problem the film had was toward the end. Spoiler alert for those who want to know nothing. Mitch discovers a mole within the special forces team. Then when Stan's in trouble, he basically demands the mole help him. I just had to sigh at the lack of imagination here. Number one, the mole's handler was just killed. Number two, the mole has no allegiance to the CIA or to America. So why would this person help Mitch help Stan? There's no incentive there. And extremists are willing to die for their cause so this whole part just makes no sense. The second issue is the torture scene. I realize the guy is an ex-Navy SEAL but there's a line where no one can handle pain. I don't care who you are, you're going to do a lot more than grunt when you get a blowtorch to the chest. The third and final issue is, well the whole point. Mitch spends the entire film following Stan's orders but it's supposed to be a means to an end so he can find and kill the man that killed his fiancee. That's never resolved. There's no satisfaction, no resolution, just more of the same - Mitch ignoring what Stan says. In the end, hasn't Mitch simply become what he's been fighting against the whole time?

In conclusion, the film had a great start and a great plot but it gets too bogged down with illogical writing. I had hoped this film would be the next Best Picture winner but I'm afraid that ship has sailed home. I give American Assassin a 2.5 out of 4.

© 2017 Nathan Jasper


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