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Movie Review: American Assassin

Mitchell Rapp (Dylan O'Brien) had just made one of the most important decisions of his life. In the picture above, from the film's opening scene; Mitch had just proposed to his girlfriend Katrina (Charlotte Vega) in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Ibiza, Spain. Everything was perfect. Mitch had his waterproof phone to capture the special moment, the engagement ring from his deceased mother; Mitch's parents both died in a car crash when he was 14. The only thing Mitch wasn't prepared for was the terrorism. The wholesale slaughter of beachfront revelers by Middle Eastern terrorists is jarring and reminiscent of the "No Russian" level of popular videogame 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2'; where Russian terrorists open fire on unsuspecting passengers in an airport terminal. On the beach Katrina is one of the many victims of the attack with a wounded, shell shocked Mitch by her side.

18 months later, Mitch is in Libya minutes before his interview with the leader of the terrorists that murdered his girlfriend. His plan of feigning radicalization to infiltrate the terror cell has worked perfectly and moments away from completing his mission, the CIA steps in to finish the job.

Full disclosure: I'm unfamiliar of Vince Flynn's long running Mitch Rapp series and have no knowledge of how closely the film mirrored the book. In the moment where Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan), the head of a secret team of CIA Agents recruits Mitch; you begin to realise American Assassin is going to follow the paint-by-numbers set of super agents who travel the world, thwarting those seeking weapons of mass destruction. Obviously Mitch joins the team that is tracking stolen plutonium, which starts the process of building a nuclear bomb. Naturally, the team will travel the globe (read: popular European tourist destinations) to stop a potential third world war.

Though American Assassin isn't a bad movie, not enough is done to differentiate Mitch Rapp from the crowded field of more prominent names in the super soldier/one man army subgenre of action movies. One could easily dismiss the film as a poor man's (enter favorite secret agent here) but, that sells the film a bit too short as it suffers from a poor, cliche riddled script. Mitch Rapp's on screen debut may not be the best but, the film was intriguing enough to wonder if the book was better.

Verdict: C-

Rated R @ 111 mins.

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