American Ultra had, what was in my opinion, an excellent trailer. There were a few good laughs, snippets of action, and a premise that was interesting and unique enough to be appealing. It also promised Jesse Eisenberg, an actor I’m a big fan of, in a role that’s both in his comfort zone (a fast talking, bumbling nerd), and something we haven’t seen him do before (a violent action hero).
So my first issue with this film was the lack of laughs. Don’t get me wrong, almost every single joke hit (John Leguizamo was a particular comedic highlight), and I laughed out loud multiple times, but there were nowhere near as many jokes as I expected. My second issue was that they showed the end of the film as the first scene. I don’t count this as a spoiler, because it’s literally the first shot in the film, but there are moments when you’re not meant to know whether Eisenberg has survived, but you know he has, because you know the outcome of the film. The whole ‘showing the film out of order’ thing can work sometimes, but here it detracted slightly from the overall experience.
One place American Ultra did succeed however was the action. Yes, it could have done with a little bit more, especially in the first 45 minutes, but the action we do get is great. It’s smart, well shot, realistic, and violent. So often films like this will have somebody get shot and simply fall over, but not here. so fans of violence, you’ll enjoy this. Also, fans of violence, seek help, that’s not healthy.
This film also has a lot of heart. One thing I didn’t expect from American Ultra was to feel emotional, and while I was nowhere near tearing up, there are some nicely written character moments. I also have to give credit where credit’s due, and say that Kristen Stewart was good in this film. Stop clicking away! Damn.
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