American Assassin (2017)

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Critic Consensus: American Assassin hits a few easy targets, but without enough style or wit to truly bring its characters to life -- or stand out in a crowded field of more compelling spy thrillers.

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AMERICAN ASSASSIN follows the rise of Mitch Rapp (Dylan O'Brien) a CIA black ops recruit under the instruction of Cold War veteran Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton). The pair is then enlisted by CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan) to investigate a wave of apparently random attacks on both military and civilian targets. Together the three discover a pattern in the violence leading them to a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent (Shiva Negar) to stop a mysterious operative (Taylor Kitsch) intent on starting a World War in the Middle East.

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Critic Reviews for American Assassin

All Critics (155) | Top Critics (26)

American Assassin is as generic an espionage thriller as you're likely to find.

Sep 17, 2017 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

American Assassin is not what it pretends to be.

Sep 16, 2017 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Still, passive audiences seeking pure escapism will find the bare minimum of fast action and ass-kicking mandated by the movie's formula.

Sep 15, 2017 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Sorry, but no sale.

Sep 15, 2017 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

There's plenty of talk about American Sins in American Assassin, but none of it changes the fact that the bad guys want to do bad things and must be stopped, so there really isn't much point to all that chatter.

Sep 15, 2017 | Rating: 0/5 | Full Review…

[Dylan] O'Brien is grimly focused as Rapp, but there isn't a lot of electricity in his performance. He gets the job done, but he's no Matt Damon or Daniel Craig. Their spy-guy shoes remain unfilled.

Sep 15, 2017 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for American Assassin

½

Exciting and action-packed, American Assassin is a high-adrenaline spy thriller. After losing his fiancée in a terrorist attack Mitch Rapp infiltrates the terrorist's network to get revenge and is recruited by the CIA to be part of an elite black-ops unit. Dylan O'Brien is pretty solid as the lead and Michael Keaton is excellent as a CIA instructor who's haunted by a former student turned rogue terrorist (played by Taylor Kitsch). And the fight choreography and stunt work is really well-done. The plot however, is pretty formulaic and hits a lot of the usual spy tropes. Yet while American Assassin lacks originality, it's an entertaining and fun action film.

Dann Michalski
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer

The film starts with a bang but slowly falls apart with a simple story that wasn't deserving of the talent. Michael Keaton was a smart choice for the mentor but the overall arc is tired, especially in a world with Bourne and Bond. The first 30 minutes are relentless and the best part of the movie, it's a shame that the pacing couldn't be held together from beginning to end. The villain is very weak and this simple storytelling hurts what should have been about foreign terrorists. There was a lot of potential here but gets lost in a hero who burns red at any time. 27-11-2017

Brendan Nicholls
Brendan Nicholls

Super Reviewer

½

American Assassin might be the most nothing movie of the year. I was sold on the trailer, I though Michael Keating looked great (and to be fair, he kinda was), but watching the movie itself, I felt completely blank. I can't even recommend American Assassin as background noise.

Gimly M.
Gimly M.

Super Reviewer

½

Personally, I love when a film adaptation of a novel is released when I haven't read the book, because I don't have to compare it to something that is probably more fleshed out. I like being able to escape at the cinema and not have to think about anything else throughout my viewing experience, so I'll be reviewing American Assassin strictly as a film, rather than comparing it to the novel that it's based on. When the trailers released for this film, I found myself intrigued, mainly due to the fact that it seemed like a fun ride and the fact that I lobe both Michael Keaton and Dylan O'Brien as performers didn't hurt either. Although this movie is far from perfect, I found myself enjoying this film just about as much as I expected to. Regardless of just how good this film is, here is why it's definitely impressive enough to warrant a viewing at matinee price. Plain and simple, American Assassin is about Mitch Rapp, an infuriated, revenge-driven assassin, who wants nothing more than to join forces with team who brings down terrorists. Having lost his parents in the past and recently his fiancé through a massacre on a beach, he has nothing left but to leave his old life in the past. This tragic backstory is slightly over-the-top, as it seems that literally nothing has ever gone his way over the years, but that also makes for some great motivation, so I was able to forgive that aspect for the most part. Although its themes are incredibly relevant in today's day in age, American Assassin exists to equally be a statement to the world, as well as a fun popcorn flick, balancing out its audience in the best way. By far the most enjoyable aspect about this film, which also gives you a break from the violent imagery throughout the majority of the action sequences, is the fact that Dylan O'Brien is a very charismatic leading man, and Michael Keaton, alongside the rest of the supporting cast members, ass seem to be having fun in their respective roles. Yes, this is a hard-hitting action flick, but the more somber moments between characters are definitely earned, even if they're too few and far between. Sadly, the biggest downfall that you will experience throughout viewing this picture, is the fact that the majority of the plot lines are fairly predictable. When going into a movie like this, you should be expecting some turns to occur, especially when you're dealing with terrorists and people that could potentially be doing inside jobs with our main characters. Trust me, that's really not giving much away, because this movie deals with ideals like this from beginning to end. It's the fact that these twists can be seem from a mile away and most of the action is fun to watch, but the stakes aren't always present. Although I don't have too many complaints about the film as a whole, the fact that it's so incredibly predictable is a very large detriment to it as a final product. In the end, American Assassin is a fun ride from start to finish. Those wh are queasy about violence and gore should definitely take awareness before viewing this film, because it doesn't pull any punches in that category. It seems funny to call this a fun movie, but when the action hits, it really hits hard, so I have no choice but to say I had some fun with certain portions of this movie. This is a well enough written screenplay, with some solid direction, and a cast that seems either completely devoted or just there to have some fun with these characters, so the overall product feels worth it in the end. American Assassin is far from perfect, but it's a solid flick to check out at matinee price (or rental).

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

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