Minor Spoilers Below!
AMERICAN ASSASSIN begins on a beautiful beach in Spain with a lovely picture-perfect couple, Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’ Brien) and Katrina (Charlotte Vega), swimming and enjoying life in the ocean. Mitch then surprises Katrina with a ring followed by a proposal; the couple then decides to have celebratory drinks. While Mitch is getting drinks, all of a sudden the worst thing possible occurs — a terrorist attack breaks out on the beach. Mitch begins to frantically search for Katrina, but is unable to prevent her death as she dies on the shore of the beach.
The film fast forwards to eighteen months later when Mitch looks like a shell of the man he once was. He no longer looks happy and has become a man on a mission, out for revenge against the men responsible for killing the love of his life. He has trained his mind and his body into a machine, learning the culture of Islam and Jihad and training himself in mixed martial arts. After finding a way to come face-to-face with the leader of the terrorist organization responsible for the attack, United States special forces come from out of nowhere to kill the terrorist leader and capture Mitch to be taken into custody.
Mitch is offered a job with the CIA special black operations unit responsible for killing and capturing some of the most dangerous threats in the world. Mitch begins his training with Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton), former United States Navy Seal and Cold War Veteran, who is the head of the black operations unit. As training is rearing its end, the United States learns of a threat trying to build a nuclear weapon, the perpetrator using the codename “Ghost” (Taylor Kitsch) and none other than a former student of Hurley and a former Navy Seal that was believed to be killed in action.
As the hunt begins for Ghost, Hurley and his team suffers a loss of team members and hidden secrets that eventually come to light. Ghost is in the process of building a nuclear bomb to use against a United States Naval fleet for his own revenge. This threat against the United States becomes a personal battle between Hurley and his former student that knows exactly how Hurley and his black operations unit go after terrorists. Time is not on the CIA’s side as Ghost gets closer and closer to completing the build of a deadly nuclear weapon.
This film was definitely better than I was expecting it was going to be. Michael Keaton, being on such a role lately with his performances in films, drove me to want to check this one out. With Dylan O’ Brien trying to break out into a more action role I was interested in what he could do outside of the MAZE RUNNER series. It is very much like a lot of action films such as MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE. The only downsides I have is that I wish that Taylor Kitsch’s character was in the film a little more and his back story was discussed a little more. Then the nuclear weapon ending was a tad bit generic, but there is only so much creativity that can be done in action-adventures such as this.
Overall, this was a very fun film and if you are in the mood for an action-adventure film, this would be one to check out. Definitely a good start with a great cast if they want to continue with the novel series. A sequel seems to be likely.