American Assassin Movie Review
Assassins aren’t born. They’re made.
Genre: Action | Thriller
Runtime: 1 hr 51 Min
Rated: R, Some Torture, Language, Brief Nudity, & Strong Violence Throughout
Director: Michael Cuesta
Script by: Stephen Schiff, Michael Finch, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz
Based on the novel by: Vince Flynn
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan, Shiva Nigar, Taylor Kitsch
Production Co: CBS Films, Lionsgate
Release Date: September 15th, 2017
Synopsis: An origin story about the rise of Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien), a CIA black ops recruit under the instruction of Cold War veteran, Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton).
In American Assassin, actor Dylan O’Brien perfectly embodies the essence of the fictional Mitch Rapp, a character first created in late author Vince Flynn‘s multi-book Mitch Rapp series. While the film does differ from the book of the same name, as most often do, the movie also creates the possibility of a brand new action franchise, one with the potential to mesmerize a whole new slew of action and espionage thriller fans.
As a longtime fan of Dylan O’Brien’s work, his portrayal of Mitch Rapp greatly impressed me. Not only is it my favorite role O’Brien role to date (sorry Stiles from Teen Wolf!), but I also believe O’Brien, despite the injuries he sustained only a few months before filming, operated at his natural and physical best in this movie. Or darn close it. O’Brien had a lethal, underlying drive as Mitch Rapp that brought the character to life in ways I can’t see anyone else being able to accomplish so early in their film career. Perhaps what O’Brien personally experienced in the months during and prior to filming aided his embodiment of Rapp, but it’s O’Brien’s rare ability to lose himself in a character that completely sells what he does on screen, and never more so than in this film.
Next to O’Brien as Rapp, actors Michael Keaton (Stan Hurley) and Taylor Kitsch (Ghost) delivered standout performances that truly sold this movie as being a Mitch Rapp origin story. And while I was not personally familiar with Taylor Kitsch’s work before this film, I do believe his portrayal of Ghost created some of the best moments in the film. Without his intense performance of a man unraveling , I do not know if O’Brien’s Rapp would’ve achieved the same level of bad-assery that he did. And the same could be said for Keaton’s performance as Stan Hurley. All three men were amazing on their own, but without one of them, this movie may not have been what it became. And what it became is a killer action movie that introduces fans to a brand new action hero, one that is fully capable of leading a franchise with an already built-in highly devoted, highly intelligent fan base.
Sanaa Lathan was the perfect ball-busting Irene Kennedy and Shiva Nigar delivered a fantastic performance as Annika. I loved her scenes with Dylan O’Brien as they played them with subtlety, and in this film, that subtlety was needed to off-set the intense action sequences. And believe me, there were intense action sequences. And all of them were amazing. In fact, watching the film is an overall mesmerizing experience because there isn’t a single part in it that doesn’t capture and hold your attention. And make you want to watch it again and again.
If you are for any reason on the fence about going to see this movie, don’t be. It is absolutely worth going to see. It’s a fantastic, engaging film that does total justice to both the Mitch Rapp book series and the action-espionage-thriller genre.
Standout Performances: Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Taylor Kitsch
Budget: $33 Million
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