American Assassin review – shallow and self-congratulatory

This sub-Bourne secret service thriller lacks depth, charm and pizzazz

This Bourne trilogy rip-off takes the solipsism of that character and removes all of his interiority and self-reflection, centring a film around a protagonist whose deranged psychological profile is “exactly what the CIA has been looking for”. Bereft after his fiancee is killed by a group of jihadis during a beach holiday massacre, Mitch Rapp (The Maze Runner’s Dylan O’Brien, who looks more like a school shooter than an American Assassin) grows a beard and trains himself in martial arts in the hope of tracking down and destroying the perpetrators. The CIA snaps him up, under the supervision of cold war veteran Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton, red faced from constant shouting). “I like your agenda,” says the CIA’s deputy director (Sanaa Lathan). O’Brien’s Rapp is compact and wiry, with the floppy hair and belligerent fixedness of a men’s rights activist. It’s shallow and self-congratulatory, refusing to justify its incessant violence with character development or genre spectacle.

Watch a trailer for American Assassin.

Contributor

Simran Hans

The GuardianTramp

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