American Assassin is as generic an espionage thriller as you're likely to find.
Matt Zoller Seitz
American Assassin is not what it pretends to be.
Still, passive audiences seeking pure escapism will find the bare minimum of fast action and ass-kicking mandated by the movie's formula.
Sorry, but no sale.
There's plenty of talk about American Sins in American Assassin, but none of it changes the fact that the bad guys want to do bad things and must be stopped, so there really isn't much point to all that chatter.
[Dylan] O'Brien is grimly focused as Rapp, but there isn't a lot of electricity in his performance. He gets the job done, but he's no Matt Damon or Daniel Craig. Their spy-guy shoes remain unfilled.
Even when logic goes up in flames, Michael Cuesta's thriller speeds ahead like a heat-seeking missile. Michael Keaton and new star Dylan O'Brien make action fireworks seem fresh again.
Mitch seems not just hot-headed but borderline racist, and neither trait is addressed in a satisfying way.
American Assassin offers you two competing philosophies that are equally unappetizing: cold-hearted, government-sanctioned professional killing or hot-blooded vigilante professional killing.