Movie Review: American Assassin

American Assassin is the new movie starring Dylan O’Brien and Michael Keaton. It’s based on a book of the same name written by Vince Flynn. The film is about a bereaved lone-wolf named Mitch Rapp *Dylan O’Brien) who loses his fiance during a brutal terror attack in Ibiza, Spain, and it inspires him to train himself Batman style to become a vigilante terrorist hunter.

Punching this bag with no shirt is the only thing that brings me peace

He finds himself on the radar of the CIA who pick him up and convince him to join a secret operations task force led by Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton). While training under Hurley, Rapp gets sent on his first mission — to track down a rogue agent who’s putting together a nuke with the clandestine help of the Iranian government. The rogue agent turns out to be an ex-member of Hurley’s task force, adding to the emotional stakes of the mission.

The trailers and the synopsis really had me excited. I love this kind of CIA, Jason Bourne, action movie with political intrigue and emotional depth type of genre. Ridley Scott’s Body of Lies, objectively not a great movie, is one of my favorite movies.

Body of Lies is a pretty good movie that you should probably watch instead of this movie

Unfortunately, American Assassin is an entry into this genre that lacks style, charm, uniqueness and depth which seems to have been constructed by pulling every tired trope out of a hat and pinning them to a wall. While the setup had the potential to be an enjoyable movie, the execution falls flat.

Dylan O’Brien, perhaps the best thing about this movie, is taken from scene to scene alternating brooding glares and gratuitous shirtlessness. All that shirtlessness comes at a cost — the time spent on it would have been better spent developing characters. What character development did exist felt hamfisted.

In this snapshot, you can see all of the moments you care about the characters in one image.