Is the Assassin film to easy to do correctly? Staking a rare spot in between Jason Bourne, and James Bond, the former 24 Jack Bauer director Michael Cuesta gives an update to the lucrative secret agent formula. The problem is that the film doesn’t go all in on its premise of a hardline assassin’s impact international diplomacy and has the same cheesy implausible climax of most of those films.
Dylan O’Brien is fine as Mitch Rapp a former fiancée hardened by his love lost he becomes a soulless killing machine, going rogue any chance he gets whether its crossing the line taking out targets at a shooting range or taking them out of a terrorist cell in Pakistan. Taking its cues from a series of best-selling books the movie glides on the fifth excellent performance in a row by Michael Keaton as a grizzled spy veteran who pulls one over on Rapp while withholding the secret of a former protegé gone bad (Taylor Kitsch). Kitsch is also good and should aim for more bad guy roles in the future.
The movie hits its marks but the question of whether there is enough new spin here is a question of how much you like spy movies. If you’re a fan of the genre you’ll be satisfied here but there’s no question there this could have been more. The fights are decently staged and the standout opening sequence is memorable but the political intrigue lands with a thud and Dylan O’Brien isn’t just a good enough character to carry the film. Thankfully the movie gives him just enough support from the writing to sharing the screen opposite great actors.