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American Made Review (2017) | The Insane Lavish Life of Barry Seal

Who doesn’t like watching the money flow in? Wads of cash lying around, isn’t that the dream? Good news! American Made lets you live that dream through the eyes of a guy working secretively for the CIA in the 80s. It is the story of Barry Seal whom we saw in Narcos before, making a cameo. He was played by Dylan Bruno.

Doesn’t ring a bell? No? This guy right here:

Barry Seal played by Dylan Bruno in Narcos

Javier Pena called him McPickle.

So our McPickle in American Made is played by none other than the dashing Tom Cruise. Morsels of debonair are loud in him even though he is, what, 55 now? His presence gives the character of McPickle a new perspective and slaps a smiling handsome face on a man who “American” made a shit load of money.

Theme of American Made Movie (Spoilers)

American Made is intentionally kept humorous keeping into account the type of work Barry does. The irony lies in Barry Seal being untouchable, since he works for the CIA, which allows him to work even for the bad guys. No matter how ugly it gets, CIA always has his back. Primarily because he is really good at his job. That gives Barry wings for real.

still of Domhnall Gleeson as Monty Schafer in American Made

The absurdity of it all lies in the fact that a character like Barry Seal was created by the CIA in the first place. When things begin to go south, it was CIA only which ends up shredding his files, to wipe themselves clean of any involvement. That stays the highlight of the flick and goes on to paint a wicked picture for a top secret government body, which even though is capable of getting the job done, does things at hideous costs.

Direction and Plot of American Made

The great thing about American Made is its ballsy editing. Doug Liman isn’t afraid to experiment with super fast clips when he chooses to show his frames. Comic oozes out via pickle-situations, and they all beautifully complement his shaky frames. There are stunning bizarre angles from where he chooses to capture his characters, which tell us how good a director he is.

The good thing about American Made is, unlike other biopics, it doesn’t start off from Barry Seal’s past life. Instead within seconds gets directly to the point. A pilot of TWA, who is slowly succumbing to boredom with a stagnant life hits jackpot when he gets contacted by a CIA official Monty Schafer (Domhnall Gleeson).

American Made movie still of Tom Cruise as Barry Seal

Free Lancing Really Pays

His mission initially involves a spy job, taking photographs by flying low over Central America, more like a reconnaissance. As that job progresses Schafer asks him to run errands for him to a certain Manuel Noriega in Panama who had ties with US intelligence. The crunch of money then forces Barry Seal to accept an offer from none other than the infamous Medellin Cartel. The job is to fly cocaine into the States which CIA chooses to overlook.

However, the DEA sniffs his cocaine act. To avoid them, he moves to Mena with his family convincing his wife. The next job is to run guns for Contras. On figuring out that Contras aren’t serious about their mission he starts running guns for the cartel. CIA sets up a Contra base in Mena for training them but many abscond.

JB – the Freeloader

Every crazy happy story has an injurious element. We have JB played by (Caleb Landry Jones), you might have seen him in Get Out before, who plays Barry’s brother-in-law. Offering him a job was a mistake as he gets marked by the cartel for getting caught by Sheriff Downing (Jesse Plemons) while he was running with a suitcase full of cash. Ends up losing his life as his car explodes in flames.

The Wanted Man

Another epic sight in the flick is when CIA decides to wipe its slate clean, shutting down Barry’s program. DEA, FBI and the state police and other agencies show up at his gate trying to get a piece of him, but he walks out unharmed nevertheless.

American Made movie still of Tom CruiseHowever, Barry figures out it isn’t the CIA who had his back this time, but the big Daddy White House itself. He is offered a mission to frame the Sandinistas to get their photos alongside the cartel. But White House releases those photos clearly showing Barry Seal’s face in it. It ends up putting him on the cartel’s cross-hairs.

He is convicted for a really light sentence requiring him to do 1000 hours of community service. Unfortunately, eventually the cartel gets him and kills him for ratting them out. CIA collects the remaining pieces of evidence thereafter to avoid their names from getting stained. The events later give rise to the Iran-Contra affair.

You can order American Made movie from here:

Issues with American Made

One apparent issue with the movie is that it inadvertently aggrandizes a villain. Despite how fun Barry seems, and the fact that he was just trying to make the most of a situation, he still was in the wrong to support the drug inflow. He wasn’t a hero. Period.

With the movie skimming the comic genre, it somehow sends the wrong message to the mass, a tad opposed to Narcos where you could tell the good guys and the bad guys apart. One might wish to live the lavish life of Barry Seal that wasn’t totally loyal to anybody but himself. There were twists and turns and close calls that saved his ass on a lot of occasions, that had him alive and breathing.

Barry got lucky on a lot of occasions, and with his slate shouting out loud (his conscience not so much) for all the good and the bad things that he did, because he was a talented opportunist, living a life so grand might seem like a good idea to many. That’s where the flick misconstrues its message unknowingly.

Dangerous characters of the Medellin gang like Pablo and Jorge Ochoa are shown in a fun light. You can’t take them seriously with all the killing.

Apart from that, even the screenplay isn’t that intriguing. The movie uses the following one-liner for comical effect, but using it more than once makes it less funny:

I am the gringo that always delivers.

The Final Verdict

The great thing about American Made is that it constantly narrates a story. Despite booking things for fun, there is a plot that is worth all the attention. The shortcomings of CIA, the government and the Reagan rule, it all comes out in the open. The way things were dealt back then, and how things will always remain the authority’s prerogative, are all things that will make you feel really puny and insignificant.

At the end of the day, you will remember American Made movie for all the cash you see. Barry makes so much money that it will literally hurt your eyes. There is cash everywhere. It is all really satisfying to watch since we all like to see heroes earning tons and living a prodigious life.

Enjoy this flick for its theme, its humour, and all the things that you feel when you see someone’s gaudy life flash on the big screen.

You can check out the trailer of American Made movie here:

American Assassin Movie Review (2017) | Every Rebellious Child’s Dream

American Assassin movie can’t be taken seriously. It feels like every child’s dream when they are growing up, wishing to revolt against something, everything, and against everybody. Not listening to anybody, doing things as one pleases, being the sole hero, to stopping everything bad without bothering for consequences.

Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’ Brien) is a one-man army with absurd unrealistic dialogues in his mouth, who calls the shots himself and acts upon them all by himself. He doesn’t  need a system to work. He has his own. Mitch is a dangerous man put on the field by an authority, and he acts like he doesn’t give two rats about anything or anyone.

American Assassin movie is bloating for attention, seems to be clearly aimed at teenagers who are secretly heroes, fighting the terrorists and defying the government, in their heads.

Plot of American Assassin Movie (Spoilers)

One of the best things about American Assassin is its opening scene where the tragedy happens.

still of Dylan O' Brien as Mitch Rapp in American Assassin movie

We see Mitch proposing to his girlfriend Katrina (Charlotte Vega) on a beach in Ibiza and then heading off to get some drinks to celebrate. Terrorists appear out of the blue and start shooting randomly at the crowd. The struggle in Mitch’s eyes is real, as he heads out to check on Katrina even though he is shot at numerous times. That feeling of not being concerned about one’s own life and placing someone else above you is beyond compare. They both get shot but our hero survives. It saddens you terribly and your eyes manage to hit tears then.

It is like a single most upending moment in one’s life that defines everything thereon. Like something insanely huge we can’t forget. Unfortunately, American Assassin movie doesn’t milk that fact properly. We know the guy’s shattered but the poetry in Michael Cuesta‘s frames never ooze out. The movie takes that angst and then tries to carve a story out of it but fails at it terribly.

Vengeance

As we see a vigilante mission in progress, where Mitch is trying to hunt down the terrorist responsible for his girlfriend’s death, we observe CIA closely monitoring his acts. As he secures a meeting with the leader of the terrorist, US Special Forces swoop in killing all the terrorists in the room, including the one Mitch wanted to kill badly himself.

In a CIA safehouse meeting, Rapp is being questioned by Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan), who is the CIA Deputy Director. She offers him to be a part of special black code ops Orion. It is a downhill ride from that point onwards and you know then you can’t take the movie seriously with Mitch being overtly smug for a guy who was so serious and taciturn moments ago.

Orion is headed by a former US Navy Seal Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton), another gem of an actor who ended up in a bland movie. The time we see the duo meet is the time you begin to see the true kiddish colors of American Assassin movie.

American Assassin movie still

When the dialogues  become as childish as this:

If you and I go hand to hand you could probably figure out inside 20 seconds whether I have what it takes to make it through your selection process. So what do you say?

Then the training begins which seems to be as absurd as failing to use the insanely gifted fighting skills of Scott Adkins. He plays Victor, a fellow teammate who gets killed even before we could see him in action. Wasn’t this supposed to be an action film? Then why not use available resources, Michael Cuesta?

Taylor Kitsch as Ghost

As Orion trains the already talented Mitch with a couple of cliches like this:

He is not ready.

There’s a villain wading through covert deals trying to get all nuclear.

Ghost played by Taylor Kitsch is our villain for the movie, who we find out once was trained by Hurley himself. We see him stealing Plutonium and then disappearing into the crowd.

Hurley’s team goes into action on a mission to intercept the buyer but the whole plan goes kaput with Ghost’s intervention. But Mitch, the badass hero he is supposed to be, doesn’t follow orders and chases the buyer to his apartment, and retrieves his laptop after a brief fight. With the information on the laptop, CIA figures out that Ghost needs a nuclear physicist to turn the plutonium into a nuclear weapon.

Rome

The mission then switches to Rome as the team gets made by Ghost, but Hurley comes in just the nick of time to save the team. However, Ghost manages to escape.

still of Annika and Mitch from American Assassin

Mitch figures out his companion agent Annika to be an Iranian intelligence agent and captures her. She later explains that she was a part of an Iranian faction trying to stop nuclear material to change hands.

Hurley, meanwhile, is meeting with an Iranian contact of his. A guy who was Annika’s father too. The latter gets shot as Hurley is captured by Ghost.

The Final Volley

Mitch helps Annika to escape and asks her help to find the whereabouts of Ghost. Hurley is tortured by Ghost as he arms the nuke. Mitch arrives into the tunnels. A fight ensues. Annika gets killed as Ghost escapes on a boat.

Hurley figures out Ghost’s intentions to use the nuke against the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet. Mitch, the hero, then fights Ghost killing him in the process, and then flying away in a helicopter as the nuke explodes in the sea.

The damage is reduced considerably with the nuke jettison as the fleet goes on to carry on the nuclear decontamination protocol.

As an epilogue we see Hurley recovering as Irene pays him a visit in the hospital. They talk about the whereabouts of Mitch as the TV in the backdrop implies Iranian hardliners’ sure-shot win in the elections. Later we see the hardliners’ leader entering the elevator as Mitch smiles at him. The movie shuts to a closing elevator.

You can order American Assassin from here:

The Good and the Bad

One of the good things about the movie is hands down, Dylan O’ Brien. Never for a second do we find him letting his guard down. He doesn’t flinch while he acts. It is just that his dialogues were too cocky that made everything sound stupid. Michael Keaton is good too. He stretches the movie for a considerable amount of time as a trainer but the fact that a guy like Mitch always does something defiant makes his character appear really insignificant.

The screenplay has nothing out of the box in it or even something that forces you to think. It isn’t cleverly written. There isn’t even a morsel of good dialogues for us to feast on.

Then there is that absence of energy you feel at all times. Stunts aren’t really eye-popping or even close to something that will make your heart stop. The only visually appealing and attractive scene is holed up at the very end where we see the Nuclear Bomb actually exploding, and its titanic wave uprooting masts from ships. That’s the only scene I think that might force you to dilate your eyes in the entire flick.

The Final Verdict

American Assassins story has nothing new to offer. Things are quite cliched if you watch a lot of action movies. There are tons of movies out there made on similar lines. The best parts of the flick are located at the starting and the ending. While Dylan delivers a great performance, its poor preparation makes it really insipid.

In short, there is just too much of child written on it.

Check out other reviews of Dylan O’ Brien movies.

Check out the trailer of American Assassin Movie here:

Jason Bourne Review (2016) | Despite Minor Flaws Bourne Shines Through

Jason Bourne is back! The ever so popular duo Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass; they are at it again. They go full blown trying to recreate that obscured Robert Ludlum magic that we are all diehard fans of.

The theme we have here though is strangely similar to all the prequels. Unnecessary as it seemed to bring Bourne from the ashes, we end up having something banal as the plot nevertheless. But it still hatches gold in terms of action, technology and that outstanding Bourne foresight.

DIRECTION OF JASON BOURNE

I just love the direction of Paul Greengrass. His shaky camera technique always stands out. It fills his frames with rare gravitas, and compels the audience to pay heed. We see every bit of his extraordinary panache rolling on the big screen as we feast on the subtle grandeur of a constant commotion.

CHERISHABLE BITS (HIDDEN SPOILERS AHEAD)

There are numerous memorable moments that we take away from this Jason Bourne film.

The first one being the riot backdrop, the anti-government protest which cleverly shows the fight is constant and real. CIA carries out its covert operations unperturbed even in such ruckus. Hats off to that!

The rendezvous with Nicky Parsons played by Julia Stiles in a theatrical set of nerve-racking set of events will have you salute Jason Bourne for who he is. Watch out Vincent Cassel rampage in with his unpredictability. A perfect casting there! Well chosen!

still of Vincent Cassel as Asset in Jason Bourne movie

Another high note of Jason Bourne film worth jotting down is when Vincent takes the SWAT truck and decimates countless cars as he tries to escape Bourne fury. A thrilling scene that will have a go at your adrenaline. Breathtaking! That entire car chase scene was enchanting as well and superbly shot.

When you pay attention to the CIA hunting, you will be blown away beyond limit by noticing their jaw-dropping nimbleness to handle situations. Also, the technology they use! Ah! Simply amazeballs!

When the competition goes tough and effortlessly enters the nail-biting zone, that’s when Bourne flourishes the most. Watching him outsmart the smart is what makes every Bourne movie a thrilling joyride. It all gets justified here as well. Aren’t all the Bourne movies formed under that same niche?

OTHER CRUCIAL CHARACTERS

still of Tommy Lee Jones as Robert Dewey and Riz Ahmed as Aaron Kalloor in Jason Bourne

Another part worth noticing is how the government wishes to have their eyes on everything. As Robert Dewey portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones threatens Aaron Kalloor, a real life like character (CEO of a leading social media enterprise Deep Dream) played brilliantly by Riz Ahmed to work against the ethos he wishes to run his company on, you will be forced to wonder how the future of privacy really looks. Privacy is a myth and so the CIA proves by putting its nose in other’s business.

Alicia Vikander is one of the most exciting, and as the movie progresses we find out, seemingly powerful characters to have ever entered the Bourne franchise. She wears Heather Lee on her sleeves for the better part of the movie only to drop a bomb on us in the end. The way she gets on top of things with her technical skills is what makes her a girl to watch out for in the long run.

DOWNSIDES OF JASON BOURNE 5

The fact that Paul Greengrass tried to weave a plot that seemed kind of forced to blow Bourne out in the open isn’t the only downside the movie had. Even though every fact falls in place, and there is a constant pace justifying each and everything as to why a bit is shown, there are other things nay flaws that silently gnaw at the soul of the flick.

The first one being the shoddy screenplay of Jason Borne. There isn’t an eye-opening line by Paul Greengrass or Christopher Rouse inscribed in it unlike the prequels, that impoverish the quality of the written material.

still of Matt Damon as Jason Bourne fighting odd fights in Reykjavik

Bourne’s character still ends up being very manipulative on account of shattered memories in his head. The part where Dewey chooses to trust his mouth more than a gun against Jason Bourne will compel you to wonder how easy it is to dupe Bourne – with words from his past.

Then there are dispensable characters that don’t squeeze out melodrama at all. Like that Nicky Parsons fate, you don’t see Bourne feel sorry enough for. We had a past with Nicky. He had too. The movie had snappy casualties that were like dominoes that stood unattended.

There is a smothering fight scene as we reach the end of Jason Bourne for a climactic closure. Unfortunately with the previous levels of agent brawls, this one falls a little vapid owing to the zoomed in camera that makes it hard to concentrate. The fight, even though more plausible, ends up becoming a mere ‘meh’ owing to the way it ends, with a lot of choking.

The Jason Bourne movie DVD is out. You can get it here:

THE FINAL VERDICT

Overall I think the movie was fine. An unneeded sequel since the Bourne story was already told in three extraordinary bits before. But being an aficionado I wouldn’t ever mind watching Bourne kick Government’s ass every now and then just to break free through that mundane ripple.

still of Alicia Vikander and Matt Damon in Jason Bourne

The best part eventually indubitably and inevitably remains, when Bourne does something badass and the music of Moby goes literally Extreme Ways.

With the return of Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass, the future of the Bourne films look strong. But at one point you begin to wonder what will happen to the Bourne books ?

Check out the trailer of Jason Bourne movie here: