Movie Review – American Assassin (2017)

Guns! Bombs!  Treachery and intrigue!

BQB here with a review of “American Assassin.”

It’s not easy to take a popular book series and bring it to life on the big screen.  While Tom Cruise’s efforts to breathe cinematic life into Lee Child’s “Jack Reacher” have fizzled (watch one and it feels like an extended episode of “Law and Order”) there appears to be hope for the late Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp character.  Flynn left the world much too young, but Mitch lives on.

In this film, Dylan O’Brien stars as Rapp, a happy go lucky graduate student whose life is changed for the worst when his girlfriend is shot during a terrorist attack on a beach resort.  Trading in text books for knives and martial arts training, Mitch sets out to take on terrorists all by himself only to be recruited by the CIA and given formal training by the gruffy and surly Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton, back as part of the Keaton-aissance.)

Rapp is a walking contradiction and difficult to control.  He’s got a personal grudge, a fact that the CIA believes it can exploit in the form of an agent who can be pushed to the brink.  On the other hand, the personal grudge means he doesn’t take orders and is willing to put the mission at risk, which causes Mitch and Hurley to lock horns often.

Ultimately, Mitch will be forced to face Ghost, a former trainee of Stan’s who went rogue. If you’re a nerd, you might see the Stan as Obi Wan, Ghost as Darth Vader and Mitch as Luke Skywalker parallel.

Many thrillers are satisfying on the page only to come out as blah on screen, but I think Hollywood has something here in the form of a young, angry American anti-James Bond character.

Let me put it this way.  I’ll probably watch “American Assassin 2” before “Jack Reacher 3.”

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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