American Assassin (18)

When Mitch’s (Dylan O’Brien) fiancé is gunned down on their beach holiday it triggers a series of events that lead to him showing up on the CIA’s radar.

The 23-year-old lost both his parents in a tragic car accident as a teenager so when Katrina (Charlotte Vega) is killed by terrorists, something inside Mitch snaps. Any sense of normality he had created is lost in an instant and his life becomes dedicated to revenge.

Soon enough his exploits capture the attention of CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan). She recruits the troubled youngster into her elite black ops squad.

Cold War veteran Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton) is tasked with training Mitch, something he may come to regret as the young man is unruly and isn’t a fan of following orders. Together with the rest of the team Stan and Mitch investigate a wave of attacks on military and civilian targets.

Their mission takes them to Malta, Ibiza, Istanbul, Tripoli, Romania, Roanoke and Rome. They soon uncover a pattern of violence that leads back a rogue operative intent on starting a world war in the Middle East. Their only hope for defeating the terrorist is to form an uneasy alliance with their Russian counterparts.

In a time when trust is a commodity the team can’t afford to give away freely they must attempt to stick together to bring down evil forces before a global war breaks out.

American Assassin is an ambitious, yet uneven thriller that would benefit from a lower age certificate and a lighter tone. It’s trying to be a Bourne movie, but without the slick action shots, and ends up feeling more like a Bond copycat. Saying that Michael Keaton and the movie’s main star Dylan O’Brien don’t disappoint. It’s their repartee that carries the movie.

There’s 15 more Mitch Rapp books to go but a sequel at this point seems unlikely.

By Ruth Walker

★★☆☆☆

 

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