Amer­i­can As­sas­sin

The Observer - The New Review - - FILM -

(112 mins, 18) Di­rected by Michael Cuesta; star­ring Dy­lan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan

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.

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