Movie Review: AMERICAN ASSASSIN (Blu-ray Combo Pack)

AMERICAN ASSASSIN is based on the best-selling book series by Vince Flynn. The movie was directed by Michael Cuesta, written for the screen by Stephen Schiff, Michael Finch, Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz and stars Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan, Shiva Negar, Scott Adkins and Taylor Kitsch.

American Assassin follows the rise of Mitch Rapp (Dylan O’Brien), a CIA black-ops recruit under the instruction of Cold War veteran Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton). The pair is then enlisted by CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan) to investigate a wave of apparently random attacks on both military and civilian targets.  Together, the three discover a pattern in the violence, leading them to a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent (Shiva Negar) to stop a mysterious operative (Taylor Kitsch) intent on settling a personal and professional vendetta that could have cataclysmic results.

The opening scene for American Assassin sets everything up with Mitch Rapp who goes through a traumatic experience that leaves him a changed man. He ends up being recruited by Stan Hurley, a CIA black ops specialist and this is where Mitch becomes an important part of his team even though he does have a rogue side to him. Mitch and Stan don’t get along too well but Mitch’s talent gets him through the intense training program and they head off on a top secret mission to investigate a mysterious wave of random attacks. What they discover is that Ghost, a former member of Hurley’s team, has assembled a nuclear weapon and has plans to kill as many people as possible with it. In the end, Mitch ends up disobeying orders so that he can try to stop this terrorist from setting off the weapon and he ultimately saves the day.

Okay, there’s a lot to like about this action-thriller even though it reminds me of so many other movies. The story was interesting and the characters were all fun to follow plus it’s pretty cool to see Dylan O’Brien in such a physically demanding role like this and he may just be the next action star we’ve been looking for. The always awesome Michael Keaton has been around for a long time and even he got in on some of the action and really delivered. The movie features some exciting action scenes and well choreographed stunts but they really save the best for last because the explosive final moments of the movie tease just how destructive a nuke can be. There’s also a little blood and gore to go along with the action-packed chaos. American Assassin serves as a really good introduction to this interesting character and hopefully we’ll get to follow him on more international adventures.

The packaging comes with a slipcover/o-card. The front features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. Each disc also features some matching artwork. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for the high-definition disc were crisp and clear and the picture and sound quality for the standard-definition disc were really good. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, American Assassin was an intense action-thriller that features an interesting story and a great cast to go along with it. I always enjoy good spy, war and action movies and this one is a little bit these all rolled into one exciting international adventure. With that said, we’ve gotten plenty of movies like this before where we watch a hot shot avenge the loss of his loved one. He’s the hero who doesn’t get along with authority figures and disobeys orders but somehow ends up saving the day. It’s not how it works in real life but it makes for a fun watch. Dylan O’Brien does a really good job as the main character with a rebellious side to him. Michael Keaton delivers a great performance as the seasoned veteran who serves as the hard-nosed mentor and mission leader. Last but not least is Taylor Kitsch who doesn’t get a lot of screen time but his character packs a powerful punch and is a very important part to the story. Director Michael Cuesta did a good job adapting this movie from the source material and the proof is what plays out on screen. American Assassin is now available on Blu-ray+DVD+Digital HD Combo Pack and worth checking out.

Distributor: Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Run Time: 112 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition 16×9 Widescreen (2.40:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 / French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 / English Dolby Digital 2.0 / EDA

DVD Video: 16×9 Widescreen (2.40:1)

DVD Audio: English, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 / EDA

Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish

Special Features: Good Stuff! There’s over an hour of extras that include five all-new, never-before-seen featurettes and a cast Q&A and a digital copy of the movie.

  • “Target Acquired: Creating an American Assassin” Featurette (09:54)
  • “Finding Mitch Rapp: Dylan O’Brien” Featurette (09:53)
  • “Transfer of Power: Hurley and Ghost” Featurette (13:43)
  • “Weaponized: Training and Stunts” Featurette (12:05)
  • “In the Field: Locations” Featurette (09:29)
  • Alamo Drafthouse Q&A with Dylan O’Brien and Taylor Kitsch (26:05)
  • Digital HD Copy


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