AMER­I­CAN ASSASSIN (MA15+)

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Gold Coast Eye - - EYE MOVIES -

AND THAT’S A RAPP, EV­ERY­ONE! DI­REC­TOR: MICHAEL CUESTA (KILL THE MES­SEN­GER) STAR­RING: DY­LAN O’BRIEN, MICHAEL KEATON, TAY­LOR KITSCH, SANAA LATHAN, SHIVA NEGAR RAT­ING: hhk

The Ja­son Bournes and Jack Ryans of this world are seem­ingly out of the movie game for now. Per­haps for good. There­fore the way is clear for a younger, hun­grier, and cooler spy guy to step forth from the shad­owy world of in­ter­na­tional es­pi­onage.

So say hello to (and then duck for cover from) Mitch Rapp, a can-do counter-ter­ror­ism op­er­a­tive rapidly and ruth­lessly ris­ing through the ranks of the CIA.

The most pop­u­lar cre­ation of the late best­selling au­thor Vince Flynn, Rapp (played by Maze Run­ner heart-throb Dy­lan O’Brien) needs an all-stops-out ori­gin story to find quick trac­tion with au­di­ences.

This rudi­men­tary run-and-gun ac­tion thriller does the job in largely work­man­like fash­ion, save for the sur­prise sight­ing of pres­tige ac­tor Michael Keaton ( Bird­man, Spot­light) get­ting his kicks as Rapp’s tough old boot of a men­tor.

We first meet Mitch Rapp in what is frankly a dis­turb­ing re-en­act­ment of the kind of ran­dom ter­ror­ist at­tack that ex­clu­sively tar­gets Western tourists at third-world hol­i­day re­sorts.

One mo­ment, Mitch is propos­ing mar­riage to his girl­friend on the beach.

The next mo­ment, a squad of gun­man are me­thod­i­cally mov­ing up and down the shore­line, calmly shoot­ing any­one in their path.

Suf­fice to say, in the af­ter­math of this in­ci­dent, Mitch won’t be book­ing a hon­ey­moon, but he will have a ma­jor mo­ti­va­tion to fight ter­ror­ism wher­ever he can lay his hand on it.

Af­ter sin­gle-hand­edly in­fil­trat­ing an mur­der­ous ISIS-ish cell in the Mid­dle East of his own ac­cord, the CIA is suf­fi­ciently im­pressed to of­fer Mitch a start­ing po­si­tion on their team.

En­ter Stan Hur­ley (Keaton), a leg­endary coach of covert killers who has the job of shap­ing Mitch’s 24/7 quest for per­sonal vengeance into some­thing with long-term po­lit­i­cal gain for US in­ter­ests over­seas.

Keaton is clearly slum­ming it for an easy pay­day here, but he doesn’t just coast along on his rep­u­ta­tion.

When­ever he shares the screen with O’Brien, the in­ex­pe­ri­enced lead­ing man sud­denly rises in stature and abil­ity to im­press.

Even if the wonky sto­ry­line pro­pel­ling Amer­i­can Assassin doesn’t quite pick you up – later, Rapp and the gang are chas­ing a rogue ex­a­gent (Tay­lor Kitsch) trad­ing in dirty nukes – a com­pletely over-the-top fi­nale will still get you over the line.

SHIVA NEGAR, MICHAEL KEATON, NEG ADAM­SON AND DY­LAN O’BRIEN IN A SCENE FROM NEW AC­TION THRILLER AMER­I­CAN ASSASSIN.

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