I was surprised by the scope of American Assassin. The film does a lot of globe trotting and in this way feels like the next Borne or Bond installment. If you have been reading the L & D at all you know how often I bemoan the big explosion at the end of movies. I think it should be its own genre: THE BIG EXPLOSION movie. And it’s not just action, it seems like anything outside of Jarmusch or Baumbach has one. However, I will give credit where credit is due and say that American Assassin has got an enormous explosion at the end that actually contains a lot of drama. American Assassin is well crafted and passable for what it is.
If you are interested in turning your mind off and pretending the world is made up of easily categorized good guys and bad guys then this is right up your blindly patriotic alley. I however have watched 6 hours of Ken Burns & Lynn Novick’s The Vietnam War since I watched American Assassin, so I am under no illusions. Spoiler Alert: Lyndon Baines Johnson lied about how good we were doing, when in fact we were losing and had no way to win.
Back to American Assassin. If you like to watch action, things blowing up, close range firing and don’t mind a little “torture-lite” this is the right thing for you. It will be cathartic. Of course, the world will have become two hours more complicated then when you entered the theater but remember, it is a movie and you can catch up. I did think that the star, Dylan O’Brien did a solid job. Shiva Negar as Annika was also convincing. And of course, I was glad to see Michael Keaton but it did make us wonder why he did such a typical movie after such a great recent run including Spotlight, Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Spider-Man Homecoming and The Founder. I guess he has to feed the Hollywood machine sometimes too.