Big, but not clever

Guns and ter­ror­ism and con­tro­versy and stuff

NME - - FRONT PAGE -

Amer­i­can Assassin

Michael Keaton, Dy­lan O’brien, Tay­lor Kitsch ★★ Amer­i­can Assassin

has been dogged by more con­tro­versy than a Don­ald Trump tweet. Based on the novel se­ries by the late Us au­thor Vince Flynn, the film was slammed ear­lier this year by fam­i­lies of the vic­tims of the 2015 Tu­nisian tourist mas­sacre for its open­ing scene – a bru­tal beach­based shoot-out in which Mitch Rapp’s (Dy­lan O’brien) fi­ancée is gunned down.

It’s a har­row­ing opener, cer­tainly, but it soon be­comes clear that this film is less a com­ment on in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ism and more of an ac­tion film in the tra­di­tional sense, with heavy hints of Die Hard

spat­tered through­out.

a venge­ful Rapp is soon re­cruited by the CIA to work as an un­der­cover assassin, but not be­fore he’s been coached by Michael Keaton’s stan hur­ley, a sassy, tough-as-balls Cold War vet­eran who lives in a cabin in the woods, where he trains re­cruits to be­come killing machines.

It’s clear that the rene­gade Rapp, in spite of – or per­haps be­cause of – his pen­chant for risk-tak­ing is a favourite of hur­ley’s. Things get all the more silly when hur­ley’s for­mer top boy steps back into their world. Cue lots of fight­ing, fast-paced stunts, ex­plo­sions, some rather gory ul­tra-violence and the threat of all-out nu­clear war.

If you’re look­ing for in­sight­ful com­ment on the state of the world, how­ever, Amer­i­can Assassin isn’t it. Leonie Cooper

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