For those of us who have read the novel by Vince Flynn, No, the
movie isn't the same as the book. The
characters are similar, but their development and interaction are much
different. That said, the
movie is still a compelling spy yarn, even if there are some plot holes,
and loose ends left dangling.
Mitch Rapp (Dylan O'Brien) is first shown as a lover boy on the
beach, proposing to his beautiful girlfriend at a swanky resort. She
happily accepts. The lovebirds
are joyously exhilirated, until suddenly disaster strikes:
a seeminly random terrorist attack.
Black-clad gunmen mow down hapless vacationing civilians.
Because they can. And
because their goal is to strike fear into the hearts of the infidel.
Somehow, Mitch Rapp survives being gunned down, but his fiancee
doesn't. Thus begins his
focused, determined, and lonely journey toward personal revenge.
They ask him to leave at the martial arts gym, because he's so
relentless. Yes, he applies to
a certain clandestine government agency, but soon learns that their
ponderous methods are too restrictive for him.
On his own, he manages to find a terrorist cell by pretending to
want to join them. But the CIA
has followed his movements, and foiled his personal revenge mission.
The Assistant Defense Secretary, in charge of counter-terrorism,
Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan) personally picks Mitch Rapp for a top-secret
group called Orion. But first
he must undergo the rigorous training, under a grizzled old operative
named Hurley (Michael Keaton).
The big test comes when the CIA learns that certain terrorists have
gotten hold of some old Russian weapons-grade plutonium, and are actively
seeking equipment to convert it to a bomb, as well as a compromised
physicist willing to do that, for the right price.
Orion's “mission impossible” is to stop them.
Now we are led on a dizzying tour of exitic locales, from Libya to
Istanbul to Rome, while our super-spies plan their intervention.
Yes, there's violence. And
of course there are chase scenes in fast cars.
And some genteel viewers may not have the stomach for the
depictions of personal torture. Naturally,
there are good guys and bad guys, and we're mostly clear about which ones,
but there's always the surprise double agent.
And then there's the collateral damage.
In the end, we'd all like to know that there might be an American
operative like Mitch Rapp, who is smart, resourceful, determined, and
highly skilled, and has enough sense not to make himself vulnerable
through emotional entanglements. The
bad news is that emotion is largely absent from this sequence of
cold-blooded violence. No
sense of humor, either. And
certainly no love, other than lost. “American
Assassin” is slick and exciting, but also graceless, and devoid of moral