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American Assassin

Miserable.

Can someone help me out here? What was this movie about? Who was in it? Was Michael Keaton in there, or did I doze off and dream of a better, weirder movie? Are we casting Keaton as if he spent thirty years as an action star now? Why? Is Chuck Norris too busy with his radio shows to act anymore? Could they not get Steven Seagal on the phone? And was there something about “plutonium” and “the Russians” and “rogue elements” and “secret spy organizations”? And they were constantly looking for a physicist? Even though they already had the bomb or whatever they were after and just needed to start the countdown clock. Did they need the physicist for that?

I’m pretty sure they were after terrorists. There was a terrorist cell full of brown people who killed the white American girlfriend of the white American hero. And he tries to infiltrate the cell, and that doesn’t really work out because he’s very stupid and has no idea what he’s doing. But then we hear he’s testing “off the charts” and the CIA has been watching him, and the agency is going to stick him with Keaton so he can go out into the woods and learn how to assassinate. But there’s also this other assassin out there, also trained by Keaton, and now he’s a bad guy working for other, scarier bad guys, and that’s how we arrive at the bomb and the Russians and the physicists and whatever.

Wait, I remember. There was this really cool shot of a car speeding through a tunnel or something, and then the car explodes and it blows up in the tunnel, and the director remembered for a few seconds that he was in charge of how the movie looked and, yeah, that was something. And then there’s that other shot of all the enormous ships falling over and crashing into each other, that was alright, but I’d already seen that in the trailer. So no surprise there.

How on Earth is this from the same guy who gave us L.I.E. and 12 and Holding? This is a movie with nothing going for it. There is no heart or soul, nothing to latch onto to get a grip on what purpose it’s serving to release a film like this right now. It’s not even jingoistic, though if it were you could at least point to that and say, okay, I get that, that’ll market a movie. But there is just nothing here. It’s just a lifeless by-the-numbers action movie. It throws its plot at you in vague sound bites that never connect while feeding the rage that I do my best to keep buried deep inside me by constantly having characters finish each other’s sentences, as in, “That means he’s headed  to…” “…Rome. I know.” This has to be etched in stone somewhere as a screenwriting cardinal sin. But here we have it occur about fifteen times in under two hours. It would be unforgivable if the movie weren’t already so forgettable.

  • FXF
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