Dylan O’Brien has gone from Teen Wolf, to Maze Runner, and now his own action film. American Assassin sees O’Brien steps into the shoes of Mitch Rapp, a man who lost everything important to him. He’s spotting a much different look from his younger roles. Many hours of hair growth and weight lifting later, and he looks much older than he did as Stiles Stilinski. The film makes a hard push for Rapp to be the next big action hero. However, O’Brien differentiates himself by making the character relatable and flawed. He creates very “real” person, rather than the perfect killing machine we’re used to seeing. Mitch Rapp is the everyman action hero. He uses revenge to guide him and lets emotion cloud his judgment. Dylan O’Brien has delivered the best performance of his career, giving us a complex character and the coolest action hero since Jason Bourne. Michael Keaton is also great as the hardened veteran with a past. The actors are both talented and have nice chemistry.
The structure and pacing is where the film runs into issues. The first half of the film functions as Rapp’s origin story, and the second half throws him into action. It’s essentially two films in one, and just like in most cases, the first one is better. The story is poorly constructed and doesn’t make much sense after a certain point in the film. American Assassin is at its strongest when it’s focused on the characters and not on saving the world. This includes the action scenes, which are nothing special and actually take away from the whole experience. It’s a shame because Mitch Rapp is actually a really cool character, and the story just doesn’t do him justice. What we get is another forgettable action film with a nonsensical story. However, if the film does well enough, we do have a very cool character that will hopefully guide the narrative in the future of the franchise.
Our Score: 6.5