American Star – REVIEW

American Star - Ian McShane goes all John Wick......

The hitman on one last job is something of an action cinema staple and American Star is the latest addition to an increasingly long line of such stories. The American star is British star Ian McShane, incredibly 81 years old with a career that’s stronger than it has ever been with the John Wick franchise having given his already busy career even more of a boost. Quite whether American Star will be as big a hit is doubtful as this is a far removed from the wall to wall action of John Wick.

Here he plays Wilson an aging assassin with a military background that sees him assigned to a hit in Fuerteventura. It’s a wordless first ten minutes as is significant chunks of the film with director Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego seemingly playing to those Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns or the French new wave film Le Samourai. But Wilson finds that his target is away from home and so he decides to wait on the island for his marks return spending his time at a luxurious hotel, seeing some live music, getting to know a young boy at the hotel and meets the locals which includes a young woman Gloria (Nora Arnezeder) who works at a bar and they soon develop a friendship that leads in an unexpected direction. Into the mix is thrown Ryan (Adam Magatis) the son of a former platoon friend and Ryan too is in the same line of work as Wilson. They too strike up a friendship but there’s also a feeling that the reason for his presence might be more than just platonic friendship but potentially something far more sinister.

Though there’s a hitman at the centre of all this viewers should not expect an action fest. This is sombre, beguiling and almost existential and the stuff of the art house type as Wilson ponders his own destiny and the American Star is the name of a derelict yet fragile shipwreck near to the coast and of a similar  age as himself- the metaphor is obvious. Little really happens and this is more of a character study than anything else. A largely silent man whose face the camera dwells allowing audiences to read into it what they will. For some this will be too slow and watching it on the big screen rather than at home where there are too many distractions focuses the attention. But it’s a story and character that’s been seen perhaps once too often and this brings little new to the table beyond its stylishly framed shots in a beautifully photographed  location.

related feature : We take a look at Ian McShane in the Hellboy reboot….

related feature : Director Gareth Evans answers the question, ‘Are you going to make ‘The Raid 3’?

Here’s the American Star trailer…..


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