‘American Assassin’ Not Entirely By The Numbers

In a time of grave uncertainty in national and international security, the CIA will turn to…

An angry white millennial with no military training…to fight against a terrorist…

Who is an angry white millennial WITH military training.

American Assassin follows the arc of the young and vengeful Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien), after his love is taken from him in a terrorist beach attack (marks for originality). After the massacre, Rapp takes to training his body and mind to find and fight the terrorists that took his lady. He even manages to get in encrypted contact with the terror group, which is something every young 4Chan’er can do, right?

Anyways without spoilers, he ends up in the hands of the CIA and is put on a super secret team of not spies or special forces so who knows what they are operatives, led by former SEAL and overall crotchety bad ass, Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton). Together, they attempt to find stolen nuclear components that they believe will be used by Iran to take out Israel…in a move you might think is topical but I can assure you is a sentiment felt for decades. However, the contractor they reached out to has his own ideas with the nuke…that somehow actually makes for less of a catastrophic event as it diverts attention away from killing millions of people (people that would also be Palestinian BTW).

A very libertarian feel to the movie as Mitch gets a spot on the team after undergoing his own, dare I say capitalist like, training. They explain away why that would be important but lemme have this one. In any case, the film can come across as a quite formulaic spy but not spy, action thriller.  To be honest, it is up to the last fifteen minutes, but don’t let that dissuade you!  Really, it was just nice to see a movie about people in cool jackets beat people up and shoot them as opposed to CGI space battles and spandex.

And I’m not bashing on those movies!  If you know me you know I love em. Although I know they spent money just on shooting in a bunch of locations (as espionage films HAVE to do these days for some fuckin reason) the film just seems…smaller. Even under some nuclear threat, and that has all to do with there being no super powered entities except for Keaton’s bat-shitedness badassery!

Couldn’t find a good shot from the movie but this is close
The thing that movies like this do is reinforce our general wariness of our allies and…well not enemies exactly but people we’re not bros with, like Iran. There’s a lot of political smiling through the teeth while they exchange shitty passive aggressive barbs, but then they retreat to the poorly lit command center to get a fast talking action plan together.

Side Rant:

Stop with the fucking dark command centers, seriously. I know you think it looks cool but it’s annoying as shit and you should know that it is very bad for your eyes to be staring at that many computers and TVs in darkness. If we could get a character or two that trips over stuff or hits their thigh on a table corner to show the danger presented with this, I’d laugh and find great appreciation for their observation.

*cough* anywho

While the film gives you plenty of beats you’ve seen before, the finale plays out incredibly well. Do the good guys win?  Yeah, but they don’t come out unscathed. While they avert major disaster, there’s still a small one to be had. I like this idea. The business of stopping evil is not always clean, sexy, and safe. Once you got “the right guy for the job” on scene, it doesn’t mean it’s going to come out roses. Some times, a little tragedy is the best you can hope for.  As Adam West once said, “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb.”

I dig the movie, bro! Guns, fights, and Keaton! It’s got it all!  And I’m not going to be the least surprised to see the O’Brien kid cast as Nightwing. I’ll just put him as my horse in this race.

Definitely something I wouldn’t disapprove of.

P.S. How many Batman references did I make?

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