ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Movie Review: "American Assassin"

Updated on December 4, 2018
Movie Beasts profile image

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

American Assassin

Theatrical Release: 9/15/2017
Theatrical Release: 9/15/2017 | Source


Mitch Rapp (Dylan O'Brien) is in love and ready to propose to his girlfriend. The proposal goes very well, that is, until their vacation spot is attacked by a group of terrorists. Mitch Rapp survives the attack but his girlfriend does not and, in the months that follow, Mitch Rapp becomes set on a mission of rage and revenge as he trains himself in various skills (such as: hand-to-hand combat, knife mastery, and weapons training). Armed with these new skills, Mitch Rapp tracks down and contacts the terrorist organization responsible for his girlfriend's death. His goal is to act as a potential recruit so that the terrorist group brings him to them (that is when he will strike).

Unbeknownst to him, Mitch Rapp has been being watched by a government agency who follows him to the terrorist group. They interrupt Mitch's plan, take out the terrorist organization themselves, and take Mitch into custody. Now, the agency must decide whether or not Mitch Rapp is a potential threat or a potential asset. Mitch is certainly too much of a loose cannon to be an ordinary asset, so he would be placed in a special unit that is led by Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton). Stan Hurly is a tough, former U.S. Navy SEAL who must now decide if Mitch Rapp is fit to be in his special counter-terrorist unit.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

The Pros
The Cons
Dylan O'Brien (+5pts)
Plot "Twists" (-6pts)
Michael Keaton (+8pts)
The Action (-4pts)
The Setup (+4pts)
Generic (-6pts)
All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then awarded for each Pro and taken away for each Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points ranging from 0-10 allowing me to convey to you how significant these Pros or Cons are.

Pro: Dylan O'Brien (+5pts)

I was not expecting much of Dylan O'Brien in this film. I had seen him in both of the
films in the Maze Runner series and I did not think he brought anything special to the role. It would be unfair for me to say that I thought he was bad in the films, but I thought he gave very average performances. So heading into American Assassin, I was expecting another average performance from the actor.

I was, fortunately, pleasantly surprised by Dylan O'Brien's performance in this film. Dylan O'Brien plays Mitch Rapp, a man who is ready to marry his girlfriend, only for her to be shot and killed during a terrorist attack. Mitch Rapp then decides to train himself to hunt and kill the men responsible for his girlfriends death. It is a pretty ridiculous premise for a young man, with no military background, to self-train himself to take on an international terrorist group in another country. As ridiculous as the premise was, Dylan O'Brien brought a lot of emotion to the role. He did a great job at showing the character's pain, his drive, and his PTSD. This was a very cheesy action film, but Dylan O'Brien was fun to watch and proved that he has some serious acting chops.


Con: Plot "Twists" (-6pts)

This film falls into the same mistake that so many action films fall into. It has a weak and predictable plot that is so ridiculous and poorly written that the film gets pretty boring in a few areas. The film has a few plot "twists" that are so obvious that they become surprising. That does not sound like it makes any sense but stay with me.

There are points in the movie that severely hint at plot twists for the film. The hints are so obvious that I thought the "twist" would go a different way, just to psych out the audience. Nope, the film hints strongly at the upcoming plot twists then delivers on exactly what the audience thought the twist would be. Why even have a plot twist?


Pro: Michael Keaton (+8pts)

There is no doubt, Michael Keaton is a fantastic actor. This film is a cheesy, generic, action film but Michael Keaton gives it so much life. He gives this role so much attitude and makes the character feel unpredictable (in the middle of a predictable plot). He also brings a lot of intensity to his scenes, especially the ones between himself and Dylan O'Brien.

This film was written poorly, and the character development of Michael Keaton's character is no exception, but he was able to give life to the character and make the film interesting whenever he was on screen.


Con: The Action (-4pts)

I will start by saying that there is a lot of action in this movie. From the opening scene, and to the last, there is plenty of action in this film. The problem lies in the fact that the film does not do anything special in it's action sequences. Everything in this movie has been done many times before.

So yes, there is plenty of action in this film but it is very average action that audiences have seen in so many films before this one. There are gunfights, hand-to-hand fights, blades, cars, helicopters, and explosions. Like I said, there is plenty of action in this film but it just feels very standard. So, if you do not think you will be bothered by the unoriginality, ignore this point. However, I (personally) want a movie to give me something special and, unfortunately, this movie's action did not do the trick.


Pro: The Setup (+4pts)

I thought this film did a decent job at setting up the premise of the film. It is a ridiculous premise in which a man (with no military or combat experience) suffers a tremendous loss and decides to train himself to take out an international terrorist organization (by himself). This is a difficult premise to setup in a believable way, but I thought the film, more or less, succeeded in doing so. The film focuses in on the loss and the rage that Mitch Rapp feels, after the tragedy. He is not in his right state of mind, and is blinded by his rage and emotion. The film really focuses on Mitch Rapp's pain which is why the audience is able to forgive some of the issues with the film's setup.

Mitch Rapp, due to his recent activities, has found himself on the receiving end of government surveillance. This is totally believable but what makes it unbelievable is what the government agency does with the information they have gathered on Mitch Rapp. Rather than label him as a suspicious and dangerous person, they follow him to the terrorist group (whom he is trying to kill) and they try to recruit him to be a government agent. Really? This guy clearly has issues and this agency wants to give him a gun and put him in the field?

The film has a bunch of early plot points that are way too far fetched (even for a film as ridiculous as this one) but, by focusing on the weight of Mitch Rapp's pain, the audience is able to look past the films more ridiculous elements during the setup of the film. This is possible because this film's setup is driven on emotion, as opposed to realism. So yes, the film has a ridiculous premise, but it does an effective job at getting the audience invested in it, regardless, because it focuses on the emotional weight of losing a loved one (something that everyone can relate to in some respect).


Con: Generic (-6pts)

This film's biggest issue was how unoriginal it felt. The plot, storylines, action, and ending were all generic. The plot, as ridiculous as it was, was (at it's core) generic. Story of a young man on a mission of redemption after losing a loved one (we have all seen that before). Young up-and-comer struggles to get the approval of his mentor (we have all seen that story before too). I know it sounds like I am over simplifying these story elements, but think of movie storylines that share those storylines. This movie hits the same plot points (that I do not want to get into to avoid spoilers. Then the action sequences struggled to show anything that felt new or fresh. Yet the worst of all was that the ending was so predictable because we have all seen how similar movies have ended.

I know, it is almost impossible to have a completely original film that does not borrow concepts from the films that came before, but this film does not do anything special. It would be acceptable if the film had a generic plot, storyline, ending, or action but it is the combination of all of them that causes the film to feel dull.

Grading Scale


Grade: C- (74pts)

American Assassin is not a bad movie, but it struggles to get past the generic issues that so many action films suffer from. Michael Keaton is one of this film's biggest strengths. In the midst of a weak plot and weak character development, Michael Keaton is able to give so much attitude and life to his character. This makes the movie so much more entertaining when he is on screen (and he gets plenty of screen time). Another strength of the film is it's lead actor, Dylan O'Brien. This young actor has had his fair share of average performances in the past, but brings real emotion to this role. Through the film's ridiculous and stereotypical plot, one thing is constant: Mitch Rapp is in pain. Mitch Rapp does not have the military background, which so many characters in this film possess. Instead, Mitch is a self-trained loose cannon who is driven by emotion and revenge. This is a focal point throughout most of the film, and Dylan O'Brien did a great job of giving the character the depth that he needed for the entirety of the film.

The film's weaknesses all stem from bad writing. The premise is ridiculous (if you need proof of that, count how many times I use the word "ridiculous" in this review), the plot is predictable, the storylines are generic, and the action is standard. Again, it is not a bad movie (barely), but it fails to bring anything unique to the big screen. So if you like ridiculous (I did it again) action movies and are not bothered by the average action, then you might just enjoy American Assassin. Otherwise, you can probably skip this movie.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)