Hollywood has run out of ideas. 2017 picked up where 2016 left off to become the poster year for reboots, sequels and remakes – with close to 50 of them. And it’s not about to end anytime soon. In August, movie website Den of Geek reported that there are currently 124 such movies being made. That’s one-hundred-and-twenty-four! And this week’s release of the ridiculous “neck-gate” teaser poster for the new Tomb Raider proves that Hollywood is pushing this fad to breaking point.
In the midst of all this are movies like American Assassin, not a reboot or a sequel, but something worse – a cut-and-paste counter-terrorism action movie that is so cliché, it couldn’t find an original title (what’s another way of saying American Sniper?). I know Hollywood owes a debt to their military and their war veterans, but does America have to win in every film? Where does patriotism end and propaganda start?
This story has been told a billion times and we know how it will end each time. Terrorists attack, hero chases them all over the globe – in this case Ibiza, Tripoli, Istanbul, Romania, Roanoke and Rome – and at the 11th hour, he saves us all from imminent doom. There are a lot of car chases, broken bones, explosions and jumps out of windows. Nothing that Bourne or Mission: Impossible haven’t done yet. The difference being that those movies were, at least, interesting enough to keep you awake to the end.
Director Michael Cuesta brings some worthy genre experience from hit TV show Homeland. Despite the flimsy script that he’s given to work with, he manages to flesh out the film’s characters really well. And this can be seen from the resulting performances of the main actors. Dylan O’Brien (from Maze Runner and Teen Wolf series) and Michael Keaton each play their roles with depth and creativity. Unfortunately, it’s all wasted on this train wreck of a movie.
American Assassin is based on a 2010 book by Vince Flynn and there is talk of it being the start of a franchise (here we go again). But thankfully, this movie may have already ruined any chance of that happening. The studio (CBS Films) and its producers clearly didn’t learn anything from 2014’s Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit which killed off the Jack Ryan franchise.