One man, one goal, one thirst… a thirst for revenge. Is all I could hear in my head as I watched the trailer for the film American Assassin. It seemed like a formulaic, overly simple, action film where some guy was done wrong by a bad guy and for this he had to die (cue Schwarzenegger-esque catchphrase and roll credits). But, what I got was a movie that starts off strong and then wavers by the end in spectacular fashion.
The story of American Assassin is the story of Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) a man who lost his everything when his fiance was gunned down by terrorists and he was left to die. He began training himself in mixed martial arts and proficiency in a multitude of weaponry. All of this in preparation for his hunt of the men that ruined his life. But, his hunt leads him to land on a covert team of elite soldiers lead by Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton). Hurley is a butt kicker that hones the skills and minds of the men of this elite unit. Taylor Kitsch play Ghost. Who is the big baddie in this film.
The issue with this film is not the beginning but the finale. The lead up to the end is littered with half way decent performances and a rather good one from O’Brien. O’Brien handles himself quite capably on-screen. He fits in with the action scenes and brings enough heart to his role. The real issue is the villain Ghost. They picked actors that look far too similar and I spent some of the early moments of the movie wondering if I saw the good guy do some bad stuff. I also have, and still believe that Taylor Kitsch is not meant for the big screen. He consistently lets me down with his acting and general lack of charisma, which is weird because I loved him on television.
The ending action scene is kind of lame 90’s action movie fair and it bugs the heck out of me. The preceding fights and chases are decent to good in quality but the last one is flat and plain not fun. The movie has an incredible lead and franchise potential but has a whole lot to learn before it takes the next steps toward that goal.