'American Assassin' has the cast, but what about the plot holes?

The film “American Assassin” from director Michael Cuesta is an intense action thriller based on a popular novel by Vince Flynn, released Sept. 15. Actors Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Shiva Negar, Sanaa Lathan and Taylor Kitsch star in the movie. (Screengrab courtesy of CBS Films "American Assassin" Trailer)

The film “American Assassin” from director Michael Cuesta is an intense action thriller based on a popular novel by Vince Flynn, released Sept. 15. Actors Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Shiva Negar, Sanaa Lathan and Taylor Kitsch star in the movie. (Screengrab courtesy of CBS Films "American Assassin" Trailer)

The film “American Assassin” from director Michael Cuesta is an intense action thriller based on a popular novel by Vince Flynn, released Sept. 15. Actors Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Shiva Negar, Sanaa Lathan and Taylor Kitsch star in the movie.

The film tells the story of a man, named Mitch Rapp, trying to hunt down terrorists for a CIA-like organization after a traumatic event leaves him ready for vengeance. Rapp finds himself traveling the world to track down a stolen nuclear bomb with his mentor Stan Hurley and the rest of Hurley’s team of assassins. The team is soon thrown off by the news of who exactly they are dealing with in the illegal nuclear weapon trade they are trying to hijack, so Rapp must discover the truth and stop the nuclear weapon from being used before the bomb is placed in the wrong hands.

“The casting of O’Brien, known mostly for the “Teen Wolf” TV series, came out of left field, but it was ultimately a smart move. He’s young, hip and charmingly introverted,” Johnny Oleksinski from the New York Post said.

The movie had an interesting plot and complex characters. The protagonist, Mitch Rapp, played by O’Brien, had an intricate personality which made it compelling to watch him develop through the course of the film. His battle both with those around him and his inner demons made him a well-developed character for audiences to either relate to or dislike.

O’Brien’s acting decisions made audiences question whether the protagonist was, in fact, the hero in many situations. A time that this is pertinent is when Rapp loses control while on missions and goes against Hurley’s orders. The audience is left to question if he is disregarding orders for the good of the team or his own personal gain.

“By far the most enjoyable aspect about this film, which also gives you a break from the violent imagery throughout the majority of the action sequences is the fact that Dylan O’Brien is a very charismatic leading man,” Rotten Tomatoes reviewer KJ Proulx said.

The plot is assisted by O’Brien’s portrayal of the psychologically damaged Rapp, who surprises audiences with his unique range of emotions as each scene progresses. Rapp works fairly well with the other characters, seldom does he listen to orders, as many heroes before him, but the supporting cast handles the situations that arise well.

“As often happens with these international thrillers, plot holes are compensated for with action and spectacular settings,” Sandy Cohen from Associated Press said.

Many book adaptations are hard to compact into a two-hour movie, and “American Assassin” was no exception. Although every aspect of the film was well done, it was hard to follow a shortened version of a story that was so condensed. The plot had to be changed to fit this constraint and sometimes the story suffered.

“Good casting, nice pace, reasonable semblance of a plot. What do you want for $8.00? Good middle of the week movie,” Yosemite from “Metacritic” said.

It was clear that director tried to sacrifice very little of the author’s original intentions. Cuesta still developed the characters and adjusted the sophisticated and challenging theme in ways that made the movie an enjoyable action flick.


Calista Giroux is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at calista.giroux@gmail.com.