American Assassin – REVIEW

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The Editor has spent the weekend tending to his lawns only to find he did not have a rake or hoe and so went to see his neighbour Charlie to see if he could borrow them. Regrettably Charlie was out but his wife, Mrs Ramsbottom,  was in and she let him into their shed where Charlie kept a variety of equipment locked in a chest where our Editor found ones that were the right size for the job and set about seeing to his lawn before his wife came home so as to surprise her with his handiwork. Unfortunately when she returned home and asked what he’d been doing he told her, ‘ I went out looking for a couple of hoe’s so I went next door. Mrs Ramsbottom took me down to the garden shed to show me her Charlie’s and she let me have a rummage around in her chest to see if I could find a pair that were big enough!’ It’ll come as no surprise that once again he is sleeping in the spare room. Unfortunately this week’s new release, American Assassin also has no surprises.

It centres around Dylan O’Brien as Mitch Rapp out for revenge against Muslim terrorists in revenge for the murder of his girlfriend in all too realistic and brutal opening sequence on a beach. Bent on revenge he manages to do what the CIA, with all their mass of resources, have failed to achieve and infiltrates an Islamic terrorist cell in a bid to kill them. Rapp finds however that  the CIA have been covertly keeping tabs on him as he goes about his MMA gym training and chatting with the jolly jihadi’s on his laptop. Yes, this fiancé consumed with grief and obsessed with  revenge and self taught in the ways of hand to hand combat and counter terrorism is just what they’ve been looking for and he is whisked away to be  further trained under the tutelage of Michael Keaton, a covert black ops type who only takes the best of the best and O’Brien seems to be trained up remarkably quickly in order to take part in a undercover op which involves yes, you’ve guessed it, a  rogue nuclear device.

And that’s the problem , this is formulaic and  chock full of clichés taking in everything from the double agent, the hidden agenda, the bomb countdown, the nick of time rescues, the agent who doesn’t follow orders to such a degree that you an compile your own checklist in anticipation of what will unfold on screen.  Keaton has had a busy year with The Founder, Spiderman and now this and all are totally different roles with him being as watchable as ever. Dylan however is a twenty something actor who, having been in teen fare such as The Maze Runner franchise and the Teen Wolf TV series is just not credible in the role and comes over as a teenager who won’t do as he’s told though inevitably his character arc involves him eventually learning to follow orders.  Director Michael Cuesta’s background is in TV series such as Billions, Homeland & Dexter and his handling of action sequences is perfectly adequate but this is clearly intended to be the launch of an action hero franchise but much like the Editor’s faux pas with his wife you know how this is going to end.

Here’s the trailer…….

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