Arriving in cinemas this autumn is Michael Cuesta’s American Assassin. It tells the story of Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien) who, after having lost his parents in a fatal car accident at the tender age of 14, and then losing his fiancée-to-be to a terrorist attack years down the line, wishes to seek revenge. He is trained as a CIA assassin, under the leadership of Cold War veteran Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton). They are both assigned to investigate a particularly terrifying mission – vast quantities of plutonium-239 are being produced into a nuclear weapon by Iranian officials – after various random attacks, on both military and civilians, have been occurring. Together, with the help of CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan), they discover a pattern in the violence, which leads them to a joint mission to prevent a mysterious rogue operative (Taylor Kitsch) from beginning a world nuclear war in the Middle East.
The film is an adaptation of the Mitch Rapp series of thrillers, written by Vince Flynn. Interestingly, the novels by Flynn amount to 15 in total, and this would suggest that CBS are probably hoping that they have a worthwhile franchise on their hands, particularly with the possibility of adapting the books into a full-blown series. However, this would depend on the success of the first instalment.
From the outset, American Assassin uses all the old tricks in the book for any mainstream action thriller movie. We begin in an idyllic setting, where Mitch is proposing to his girlfriend in the sea. She says yes, they celebrate, and Mitch goes off to buy some drinks. Suddenly, a terrorist attack breaks out and Mitch’s girlfriend is shot. The utopian equilibrium at the beginning is unsettled, and the rest of the film is a slippery slope crescendo of ever-more ridiculous action, with an equally slippery script to follow suit.
What also seems quite baffling throughout the picture are the various locations. Particularly, at the end, we see Mitch trying to get rid of the nuclear bomb whilst on a boat. He leaves Rome and traverses some part of the Mediterranean, only to find that pretty much the entire American Navy have come to meet him to diffuse the bomb. The logistics and the geographical inaccuracies of having the American Navy cross the Atlantic Ocean in such little time gives the film an almost laughable element.
American Assassin is released nationwide on 14th September 2017.
Watch the trailer for American Assassin here: