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.


Simran Hans

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Prey review – stylish Predator prequel rooted in Native American history
The horror sci-fi series is cleverly revived by 10 Cloverfield Lane director Dan Trachtenberg, with Amber Midthunder commanding as a tracker with a secret weapon…

Wendy Ide

06, Aug, 2022 @2:00 PM

Article image
Assassin Club review – idiotic action thriller
Contract killer’s ‘one last job’, with Henry Golding and Sam Neill, is a cliched romp of stake-outs and shootouts

Xan Brooks

16, Apr, 2023 @11:00 AM

Article image
The American — review
An elegant George Clooney exudes mystery and inner torment as a cold-hearted assassin in The American, says Philip French

Philip French

28, Nov, 2010 @12:06 AM

Article image
Extraction review – less than a marvel
High-impact action sequences are let down by a dud script in Sam Hargrave’s kidnap thriller starring Chris Hemsworth

Simran Hans

26, Apr, 2020 @4:30 AM

Article image
Logan Lucky review – Steven Soderbergh’s bank heist pays off
Channing Tatum and Adam Driver are joined by an almost unrecognisable Daniel Craig in this warm and witty crime caper

Simran Hans

27, Aug, 2017 @7:00 AM

Article image
Fan review – creepy intrigue and big action
Shah Rukh Khan outdoes himself twice in this dual-role psychological thriller

Mark Kermode, Observer film critic

17, Apr, 2016 @7:00 AM

Article image
John Wick: Chapter 4 review – enjoyably pulpy slaughterfest
If the plot of the latest John Wick outing offers no surprises, the stunts are mind-boggling, and Donnie Yen and Scott Adkins are fun new faces

Wendy Ide

26, Mar, 2023 @10:30 AM

Article image
Inferno review – like being lectured on Dante at gunpoint
The third of Ron Howard’s Dan Brown capers adds nothing to a woeful franchise

Wendy Ide

16, Oct, 2016 @7:00 AM

Article image
Get Out; The Lost City of Z; Kong: Skull Island and more – review
Racial hatred adopts a happy face in Jordan Peele’s exhilarating horror, while an explorer’s search for a buried city is a glorious ode to failure

Guy Lodge

23, Jul, 2017 @7:00 AM

Article image
Bacurau review – wildly entertaining Brazilian weirdness
A rural community comes under attack in a thriller with anticolonial overtones

Simran Hans

15, Mar, 2020 @7:00 AM