Movie Review: "American Assassin"

Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) is in love and was ready to propose to his girlfriend. The proposal went very well, that is, until their vacation spot was attacked by a group of terrorists. Mitch Rapp survived the attack, but his tragically girlfriend did not. In the months that followed, Mitch Rapp became set on a mission of rage and revenge as he trained himself in various skills—such as hand-to-hand combat, knife mastery, and weapons training. Armed with these new skills, Mitch Rapp plans to track 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 monitored by a government agency who followed 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 is placed in a special unit that is led by Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton). Stan Hurley 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.

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 that role. It would be unfair for me to say that I thought he was bad in those movies, but I thought he gave pretty unremarkable performances in both. Thus, heading into American Assassin, I was expecting another average performance from the actor.

I was then pleasantly surprised by Dylan O’Brien’s performance in this movie. It was 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, which made it easy to buy into the premise. 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 entertaining to watch as he fleshed this character out on screen, and proved that he can handle dramatic roles.

Con: Plot “Twists” (-6pts)

This movie fell into the same mistake that so many action movies have fallen into. It had a weak and predictable plot, which was so ridiculous and poorly written that it resulted in a boring movie—at times. The film had a few plot “twists” that were so obvious that they become surprising, as they were so obvious that I thought were red herrings, but was ultimately proven wrong. There were points in the movie that severely hinted at plot twists to the story. The hints were so obvious that I thought the “twist” would go a different way, just to psych out the audience. Nope, the film hinted strongly at the upcoming plot twists then delivered on exactly what the audience thought the twist would be, which sort of defeats the purpose of having the plot twists at all.

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