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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:

The Great Wall Movie Review (2016) | Typical Monster Flick

The Great Wall movie is one of those monster flicks that starts abruptly without offering you any perspective. Unlike mythical horror movies that are built on sheer horror and tons of suspense, The Great Wall movie doesn’t bank on the fear factor rather chooses to go with the action platitude to the finish line. It ends up becoming a resounding dud shot when you can see through a plot that sounds very cliched, can feel the shallowness of its scenes and literally read the flick’s apparent contrivance.

Theme and Plot of The Great Wall Movie

The Great Wall movie tried to cash in on the myth surrounding China’s biggest miraculous defense. It created a story out of a mere lore and tried to throw in some tangible veracity to it. Yes it shows the wall in a light that would leave children fantasizing for days.

In doing so, its writers made the wall something it couldn’t have possibly been even in a dream. The movie tried to aggrandize the then extant Song Dynasty scenes with epic armies that acted tough and in unison. They responded pretty well to each other using signs and noises a normal guy couldn’t possibly register.

Max Brooks, Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz created alien mythical monsters that visited every 60 years trying to overrun the planet with huge numbers. At the center of them is a queen, a gigantic monster who stays protected by her very own circle of trust er…monsters who do not let anyone get near her. She is calling the shots for her race and yes, she is literally yowling for a boss fight.

matt damon and pedro pascal in the great wall movie

Imperial Court has assigned the job of protecting its realm to a military order called The Nameless Order. Our hero William portrayed by Matt Damon who is way too heroic for a hero, and who barely makes mistakes, is a complete badass with his bow. He has Tovar played by Pedro Pascal for a sidekick who keeps questioning his choices. Both are mercenaries who accidentally run into the Imperial Court in their search for black powder, an ancient moniker for what we brand today as gunpowder.

Willem Defoe‘s character Ballard was terribly written. You could feel him disappear without any bang, oh wait! there was one for him alright. Pleasant escape!

The Good Things

If you try to focus on the good things the movie retains the first thing would be the music by Ramin Djawadi. He is capable of giving you goosebumps with his score. You could feel that emanating through the reverberation that drums produced in The Great Wall movie’s trailer.

Then there is that rare grim attitude Matt Damon wears most of the times, where you can see him delivering lines with a steady resolve. There is one particular scene where we find Lin Mae portrayed by Tian Jing trying to make William understand trust. She tries to coax him into jumping that she wouldn’t let go. But William, who is used to not trusting anybody chooses not to, and responds:

I’m alive today because I do not trust anybody.

Then you cannot overlook the colossal army of The Nameless Order either. It’s huge. The way they move, the way they walk, the grandeur and the resplendence is beyond comparison. It is enough to put you in awe.

Then there are the monsters that are intelligently thought of with the concept of the queen at the center of it. A well thought of fantasy.

You can order The Great Wall here:

Other Issues

Now that we have good things out of the equation, let’s move on to the ugly part. There were plenty of issues starting with the creation of fear. With movies that deal with monsters and aliens, there has to be that morsel of fear lurking that should terrify its viewers. With the Chinese finding it not a big deal since they have always imaged beasts and monsters all their lives, it ends up becoming kind of a big deal, a factor that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Everything happens too fast, there is no slow graze to help one experience that fear. That’s one of the most important points that the flick overlooks. Apart from that you have the cliched storyline. You have seen this happen so many times that it compels you to yawn your way into it. Heroics included are too childish to be true. Also, climax isn’t exactly the movie’s forte. You know what will happen. No element of surprise there.

Then one of the most daft things the movie does lost in its splendour is with the human harpoons, the acrobatic soldiers or the crane troop. When you are left on the mercy of a rope and an army of monsters below you don’t go spearheading straight into their jaws. No matter how cool it looks. That’s leaping into the mouths of death. That’s what they do, and many pay the price too as was expected.

The Final Verdict

The Great Wall ends up becoming really mediocre if you look at what it has in store for you. A predictable story, monsters that you are going to probably forget with time. Some heroic stunts with arrows that look good but too good to be true. It all becomes forgetful in the end which should have been exactly the opposite of what we all wanted.

You can check out the trailer of The Great Wall here:

Jack Reacher Never Go Back Movie Review (2016) | Reacher is Lost

We have lost him! I repeat. We have lost him! Jack Reacher Never Go Back movie has forced one of the most badass protagonists to fade into vacuity. All that smug style and mannerism whilst fighting and figuring out crime has lost its shine in this garish sequel. Jack Reacher that Christopher McQuarrie had so beautifully carved in the first one has been completely obliterated. And you can’t just blame the movie’s direction for it. Somewhere the plot asks of you to hold it against the wall too.

Lee Child’s Jack Reacher

Even though we hadn’t aced the Reacher Lee Child had created by taking Tom Cruise in the vanguard, he still looked fine in the first one. Primarily because Tom Cruise had created a different grim persona altogether that held him apart from his other roles. He let Reacher stories bank on his dour comportment and McQuarrie made sure of that with his subtlety. He wanted people to fall in love with him all over again.

Edward Zwick, au contraire, let go of that ingenuity. His frames miss out on the subtlety. The story chosen doesn’t give you the adrenaline rush either. It ends up becoming just any other movie, and not what Jack Reacher truly deserves.

Jack Reacher Never Go Back Movie has taken the heroics of the super human Reacher to new lows. We don’t see his intelligence unspool much here, which kind of beats the movie’s purpose in the first place. Jack Reacher has to be complete badass. Period.

Plot of Jack Reacher Never Go Back Movie (Spoilers)

A huge conspiracy is at play. It has swallowed up and is in the process of subjugating Major Susan Turner, played by Cobie Smulders. Jack believing her, since they used to talk on phone on numerous occasions in the past, ends up trying to save the wrongfully accused Turner. Jack is being pinned on a murder of Turner’s attorney as well with whom he was seen a couple of times before. With the intent to get Turner out, Reacher reaches in and sweeps her away to figure out who is trying to play her.

still of Cobie Smulders as Turner in Jack Reacher Never Go Back Movie

Unfortunately things are strangely contrived in Jack Reacher Never Go Back Movie, giving you an impression that every set up has been placed in order to create individual scenes. That being said, it lacks a natural flair of frames that is supposed to continuously hunt for awesomeness. We don’t see much of that going on here.

Another one of the greatest bummers this movie packs in is via its subplot. A stale tale of a daughter angle! There is literally a non-existent chemistry of father daughter relationship present in the movie. It wasn’t shown or acted properly. What would really make one shake their head is the climax scene, which you see coming BTW. You know you are supposed to feel for both the characters Samantha (Danika Yarosh) and Reacher, but you just can’t. Because in the entire movie there wasn’t anything solid given to you to chew on. How could one feel for its absent drama?

Screenplay

Looking at the screenplay of Jack Reacher Never Go Back, there isn’t much in that department either. One of the coolest lines in the flick, however, gets delivered by The Hunter portrayed by Patrick Heusinger.

still of Patrick Heusinger as the hunter in Jack Reacher Never Go Back Movie

It’s people like us. We can never go back to the world.

That’s when you realize how odd Reacher is, and how he doesn’t fit in the normal world. Amongst other ones, most of them are laughable, the others are pretty cliched like when he is bowing The Hunter out with a final blow, he says:

Look at me! Look at me!

It lets you in on the burning wrath in him. But it gets over in a jiffy with his blow, and dies down just like the antagonist.

Bright Sides

To look at the shimmering horizon, the plot was well kept under the wraps. And everything keeps happening for a reason. It doesn’t break the order as some movies often do by jumping to different frames to vex people. It is a gradual unfurling that makes everything perceptible. When you look at the fight scenes, even though there is nothing memorable that you go home satisfied with, it still is very natural, and that’s where the flick manages to keep up.

still of jack reacher in never go back jack on following him

There are some thrilling moments that are squeezed in as well. Like Jack’s disappearing act followed by him bashing a car window to warn those who follow him. Also, the unfazed jump at The Hunter in the end where they both fall off a roof. It goes on to show the colossal import of the concept of saving lives, and sacrificing himself for others without worrying about his well being or safety.

You can pre-order Jack Reacher: Never Go Back here

The Final Verdict

When you don’t go with high expectations to watch Jack Reacher 2, you will be surprised that it’s fairly enjoyable. But when you do, that’s when you begin to see its shoddiness, and how there isn’t even a pinch of subtlety in it. The movie doesn’t do anything to beckon ogles. It ends up becoming too mediocre for a character like that of Reacher’s.

Jack Reacher Never Go Back is Lee Child’s 18th book in the Jack Reacher series.

Check out the trailer of Jack Reacher Never Go Back movie here:

 

Pawn Sacrifice Review (2015)

Pawn Sacrifice is a  superlative Chess movie.

Edward Zwick is probably one of the most underrated directors. Critics mostly shrug his work with a meh. But to me he makes a home run with every release. His direction is of the finest kinds, extremely riveting, never lets you lose focus. He always comes with a story that has a galloping continuity, which is always heading towards something, which he always moulds into a beauty. You can hardly make out individual frames, as is the case generally with movies by other mediocre directors, as he gorgeously blends into every other shot like a pro.

The story of the chess prodigy, Bobby Fischer delves into the head of a man who is dealing with paranoia. We are also introduced to his chess obsession, his genius brain, his Spassky rivalry, with the then existent cold war backdrop. It is a brilliantly shot biopic that focuses on several aspects of the game, of what it could do to people, and primarily tells us what it did to an already broken Bobby Fischer.

SPOILERS AHEAD:

The prologue commences at an instant where Bobby is missing from a tournament match, and the news channels all across the world are broadcasting their takes. It is a moment of national humiliation, of him going cold feet, whilst Bobby is shown being locked up in his room, wary of every slight movement, noise, and static he hears, and is wondering if there is a conspiracy going on against him. It is a great way to start a movie, and at once puts the question in the vanguard, “Why?”

As the frames reel on, we are introduced to a young quieter Bobby, with an exceptional concentration, with unmatched interest in chess, his first defeat, the tears that followed, the persisting endeavour of ‘again’ and the imminent burning will of success.

Tobey Mcguire gives wings to the character through his fluent acting. He breathes life into Bobby Fischer, and crawls his way into his psychosis. His ways are articulate and he speaks his heart out. He doesn’t care much about the people, but that’s how he was. Complementing Tobey marvelously are Peter Sarsgaard and Michael Stuhlbarg who are exceptional as Father Bill Lombardy and Paul Marshall.

The only thing that I found wrong with the movie was that his genial games weren’t highlighted much. This was probably done to make the uninterested interested. To those who are avid chess players it seems unfair. We wished to know how brilliant his moves were. How unpredictable he was in his style. How he nabbed every championship he ever set his eyes on. This goes unheard in the biopic and the tale goes unmoored into his disorder territory.

Despite all that the movie still uplifts Bobby Fischer and celebrates him as one of the greatest and prodigious chess players that ever lived. His game is really inspiring and watching his flair would give you the sudden urge to storm off to a board at once.