American Assassin is an action thriller film directed by Michael Cuesta and based on Vince Flynn’s 2010 novel of the same name. The film stars Dylan O’Brien as Mitch Rapp, a civilian who turns to counter-terrorism after losing his fiancé during a terrorist attack on a beach. Mitch is soon discovered by CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy who then assigns Mitch to Cold War veteran Stan Hurley to train. After joining Hurley’s Orion Team, a highly secretive organization supported by the CIA, but outside the Agency, Rapp must stop a mysterious operative, nicknamed “Ghost”, intent on starting a war in the Middle East. American Assassin is a fun action film with relatively quick pacing. The actors are quite solid in their roles and never take themselves too seriously. Dylan O’Brien is phenomenal as Mitch Rapp. It’s great that he’s gotten back into the swing of things after his accident a couple years back. He plays an action star very well and brings a great amount of conflict, hurt, and unpredictability that a character like Mitch needs to be believable. Michael Keaton and Sanaa Lathan also do a fine job as Stan Hurley and Irene Kennedy respectively. Their characters share a history that is alluded to but never fully explored. This leaves just enough mystery for the audience that can be further explored if any sequels are developed. The plot is pretty straightforward, but this does not hinder the film in the slightest. Even though you begin to realize where the film is going, you don’t quite know how you’re going to get there. This is primarily due to Mitch Rapp’s unpredictable nature. The fight choreography in the film was great. The use of mixed martial arts allowed for every fight scene to feel more gritty and realistic. This was especially apparent during Mitch’s confrontation with “Ghost” (Taylor Kitsch). The characters were not overly muscular and it made sense for them to exchange grapples and pins to win a fight for their life. Especially when the person they are fighting against also has guns and knives. The film’s training sequences were also interesting to watch but left me wanting more. There was no sense of time and were not really sure how long Mitch trained with the Orion Team. I give American Assassin a Decent 7.8/10. This was a great film for Dylan O’Brien to return the silver screen with. Fun, fast, and action-packed, I hope this film is successful enough to warrant a sequel. Afterall, Vince Flynn did write 11 other books.
Sometimes you leave a comedy having laughed uncontrollably throughout the film. Other times you leave realizing that the funniest parts of the film were already shown to you during the trailer. Sadly, the latter experience is what I had after watching The Hitman’s Bodyguard. That in no way means that I thought this was a terrible film. It hit the marks it needed to, when it needed to, for the most part. Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson had fantastic chemistry on-screen as Michael Bryce and Darius Kincaid respectively. The rest of the film however was your typical “paint by numbers” action-comedy. The basic plot of the film is that two enemies are forced to team up to escape a dire situation. For such a basic plot I expected there to be a lot more comedy involved to get us through the rest of the film. Instead we got the same flat jokes over and over again. Most of the film’s comedy actually came from Samuel L. Jackson’s character. I was expecting him to be funny, but I was expecting more from Ryan Reynolds. Reynolds is known for his comedic roles in film and could have elevated this film so much if he was given better material to work with. The writers maybe should have given more of the comedic lines to him and left Jackson’s character a tad more serious. Élodie Yung did an okay job as Amelia Roussel, but her role was not substantial enough for me to buy into her connection to Michael Bryce. Salma Hayek was hilarious as Darius’ wife Sonia, but her role in the film was also limited and left one wanting a little more. Gary Oldman on the other hand should have been in the film even less than he was. His Russian accent was terrible and I felt like he was mailing it in the entire time. On a positive note the film has some great action and chase sequences. The director Patrick Hughes clearly learned a lot from filming The Expendables 3 and transferred it to this film. The fight sequences with Reynolds were very well choreographed. With some better writing this film could have easily been the best comedy of the year. The studio did a great job marketing the film and it has very little competition to go up against for the rest of August. Therefore it should make a decent chunk of change and make back its low budget. I give The Hitman’s Bodyguard a Normal 6.8/10. I’d be willing to see Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson work together on a sequel as long as it has better writing and the box office of this film warrants it. Also not once was “I Will Always Love You” played during the film. That was a big missed opportunity.
The Dark Tower is a sci-fi western film based off of Stephen King’s eight-book series. The film actually serves as a sequel to the events of the seventh book The Dark Tower series. The story of the film is very straightforward. Basically what you see in the trailers is the plot of the film. The boy, Jake Chambers, has visions of the Man in Black and the Gunslinger. He finds a portal to Mid-World where he luckily runs into the Gunslinger and they team up to stop the Man in Black from destroying all worlds via destroying the Dark Tower. We are given a little exposition on what the purpose of the tower is in a scene that is reminiscent to Thor explaining the nine realms to Jane in the first Thor film. Going into this film I did not read any of the books as I expected that I would be brought up to speed on the details that happened within their pages. However, the film did not go into much detail on any of the characters, let alone provide any backstory for them. Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey are fantastic actors and they do their best with the roles of Roland Deschain, the Gunslinger, and Walter Padick, the Man in Black. Their characters have an interesting dynamic that would have played better if they had more screen time together. Newcomer, Tom Taylor, did a fine job as Jake Chambers. He had great chemistry with Idris Elba and most of the scenes they had together worked well. A few of the jokes the writers tried did not translate well on-screen, but that can happen in any film. The mythology that the film sets up is pretty great and they leave the ending open for more sequels. I did have a good time watching it, but I would not have minded if it were 30 minutes to an hour longer. A film of this nature should be longer, especially if they intend to use it to set up a franchise. I feel some of the issues with this film sit with the director. He is not as seasoned as some other filmmakers and probably was not ready for a film of this caliber. Originally, J. J. Abrams was attached to direct when the film was first being produced back in 2007, but ultimately those plans fell through. I could only imagine how great this film could have turned out in the hands of a director like Nolan or Abrams because they understand sci-fi so well. I give The Dark Tower a Normal 6.5/10. I’m interested in seeing more from this universe, so hopefully, it makes enough money to warrant a sequel, prequel, or even a Netflix continuation.
I think we can finally say it at this point. Charlize Theron is a bona fide action star! She has proven herself in Mad Max: Fury Road, The Fate of the Furious, and now Atomic Blonde. Now, let’s not get ahead of ourselves, because even though she is perfect in it, the film itself is not perfect. The movie takes place in 1989 Berlin and follows Lorraine Broughton (Theron), an MI6 agent as she is sent to work with Berlin station chief David Percival (McAvoy). They are to find and extract some valuable information from Berlin and find out how and why their colleague, who was handling the information before, was made and killed. You would think that this is a simple premise that is easy to follow on-screen, but it’s not. The editing and pacing of this film left me confused at times. The timeline feels slightly jumbled even though you’re led to believe the bulk of the film takes place over ten days. Part of this is to keep the audience guessing, but I feel that it was not executed properly. On to things that the film did execute properly, the action! The action scenes in this film were great. The car chases were shot brilliantly and the fights were well choreographed. There’s even a hallway fight sequence that would give the ones in Marvel’s Daredevil a run for its money. The casting of John Goodman as a CIA Agent and James McAvoy as Percival was great as they had good chemistry with Charlize Theron’s character very well. They don’t get as much screen time as Charlize, but when they are on screen it’s great. You never know if they are friend or foe until the very end. Also while I agree with the casting of Sofia Boutella as Delphine, I feel her character was mishandled in the script. To me, she was nothing more than a sex symbol or damsel in distress. However, Charlize’s power, sexuality, and strength on screen elevate this film. With any other actress, the film may not have succeeded in the areas that it did. Overall Atomic Blonde was a fun action romp worthy of its star. The film earns a Decent 7.8/10. Hopefully, the studios continue casting Theron in these action roles because she is killing it. I’m looking at you Warner Bros., as she would make a great villain for the DCEU. I’m thinking Barbara Ann Minerva/Cheetah in Wonder Woman 2 maybe!? Here’s to dreaming.
Sorry guys I’ve been without internet for a while so I haven’t been able to write my reviews. Good thing I haven’t seen but two movies since Thanksgiving as well. With that being said its time to review the most badass movie to ever come out on Christmas Day, Django Unchained! Quentin Tarantino has once again delivered on a great film. The stories he comes up with are always filled with colorful characters who have rich and sometimes mysterious backgrounds. The film is about a bounty hunter named Dr. King Schultz who teams up with the slave Django to help him locate and kill the Brittle Brothers for their bounty. Now from the trailers, you would have thought that the entire movie would be about them finding said Brittle Brothers, yet we actually find out that most of the plot is about Django and Schultz locating the former’s wife Broomhilda. I won’t reveal too much past that as to give away the entire story. Jamie Foxx shows off his tremendous acting chops while playing Django. His character felt real in so many ways and embodied the spirit of what one would do for the person he loves. His banter with Schultz was perfect making some of their talks hilarious even though very few words were spoken. Speaking of which Christoph Waltz has to be my breakout star of this film. His portrayal of Dr. King Schultz was amazing. He played off of Jamie very well and embodied the comedic side of this movie. This is why he is up for an Academy Award. Now I have to give a tip of my hat to Leonardo DiCaprio. His portrayal of Monsieur Calvin Candie was great. Casting him for this film was the best thing they could have done as he knows how to act and avoid the need to for there to be a cut. I say this because I found out after watching this movie that something in a particular scene involving Broomhilda was improved and boy was it stunning. Of course, the man Samuel L. Jackson did his part as Stephen the head house nigga. Watching him reminded me of Uncle Ruckus from The Boondocks. Actually, the entire movie reminded me of “The Story of Catcher Freeman” from that very same show. Noting the fact that Schultz tacks on the last name Freeman to Django when introducing him. All in all, this was an excellent film. The only minus I could think of is that it was long and I could tell while watching. Still, that doesn’t stop this film from being the best closer to the year 2012. I give Django Unchained an Excellent 10/10! And remember the “D” is silent!