Sunday, 17 September 2017


Starring Dylan O'Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan, Shiva Negar and Taylor Kitsch. Written by Stephen Schiff, Michael Finch, Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz. Directed by Michael Cuesta. Running time 111 minutes long. Budget $33 million. Certificate 18.

Based on a series of books written by Vice Flynn, Mitt Rapp (Dylan O'Brien) is sent off on the revenge trail when his fiancee is killed in a terrorist beach attack. 18 months later a laser-focused Mitt has grown a beard, learned the Koran, become fluent in Arabic, infiltrated the Muslim terrorist cell responsible and transformed himself into a one-man killing machine. However, before he can exact the revenge he's dreamed and trained for he's recruited by C.I.A Deputy Director Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan) for an ultra bad-ass black ops outfit managed and trained by cold war warrior and utter bad-ass Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton). It transpires that a shipment of weapon-grade Plutonium has been stolen on behest of a splinter group of the Iranian government and the chase is on to track it down before it's used to destroy the United States 6th Fleet. To make matters even worse the man behind the crime is a mysterious terrorist known only as Ghost (Taylor Kitsch) whose skills and training seem awfully familiar to the sort of training Hurley provides. Hmmm, I wonder if there's a connection...

This film is a real rarity, it's an 18 certificate action film and it's hardly surprising considering the violence, graphic deaths and torture scenes that populate the film. It also doesn't skim on the detail or cut away before we see multiple bullet holes, knife wounds and the close ups of finger nails getting ripped out that seem to behalf practically all the cast of this film, my god even the utterly innocent unnamed bell boy who takes Dylan up to his hotel gets chainsawed to death when he asks for a tip!

Starring Dylan O'Brien who had the misfortune to star in the dreadful YA movies Maze Runner and also Taylor Kitsch, who not so long ago was the next Dylan O'Brien, that was before he had a truly dreadful run of terrible films like Battleshits, John Carter and Savages that seriously derailed his career. This time round he's playing the baddy and he's rather good at it, as is Michael Keaton in the gruff drill sergeant role who just eats up the screen in every scene he's in. Actually there's quite a lot to like about this film, it's an aggressive, hard edged spy thriller with double crosses, hidden agendas, car chases, explosions, fights and more swarthy looking assassins than you can shake a stick at, and it's even got a ticking fricking atom bomb for god's sake, A TICKING FRICKING ATOM BOMB!!!!!

So, in the final analysis, what this is is a typical DTV Steven Siegel movie but with an A-List cast and a bigger budget, oh and no Steven Siegel which is a blessing and earns this film an extra star before we've even gotten to the final score on the door. It's in no danger of blagging a Best Picture Oscar, or one for screenplay, or direction, but it might just spawn a franchise, perhaps even becoming the next Bourne, actually if you liked Bourne then you know what to expect with this, although this is a more violent Jack Ryan than Jason Bourne. It's cut from the same cloth although one without the splashes of shaking camera splashes of vomit, the endless plots-beneath-plots, double crosses, or amnesia suffering super spy because the last thing we need is another one of those!

This is a solid, but utterly poe-faced, violent romp, which has no room for brevity or a lightness of touch and in the final analysis is the male equivalent of a romcom, so let's call it a ACTROM. It belts along, giving you no time to get bored, it's punctuated by action every couple of minutes, it's got guns, car crashes, explosions and punch ups and it's got Michael Keaton, so all-in-all, this is a solid enough Saturday Night Special of a movie and nothing more or less.


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