Title – American Ultra (2015)
Director – Nima Nourizadeh (Project X)
Cast – Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace, Connie Britton, Walton Goggins, Tony Hale, John Leguizamo
Plot – Slacker grocery store worker Mike (Eisenberg) and his long suffering girlfriend Phoebe (Stewart) quiet lives are turned upside down when they discover Mike is in fact a government army experiment that is being tracked down for death by nefarious CIA agent Adrian Yates (Grace).
“Something very weird is happening to me: I keep killing people”
Review by Eddie on 24/05/2016
American Ultra badly wants you to like it, it badly wants to be cool and hip and in general it badly fails at being either a black comedy, a sufficient action film or in general a good feature length movie and by the time Nima Nourizadeh’s (the mastermind behind Project X) film ends, you’ll badly be wishing that you could’ve got your time back.
Some strange hybrid of Pineapple Express slacker vibes and Jason Bourne action ticks, American Ultra certainly harbors the possibility of being a decent film but it’s mishmash of genres never takes hold and for a film of this ilk, it’s worryingly bereft of laughs and wit and its almost as though Nourizadeh knows it and tries to make up for it with a stunningly incompetent array of gore filled action scenes that feel neither warranted nor feature anything we haven’t seen before, bar a spoon being used to de-throat a certain bad guy.
Front and centre to this ill-conceived and in many ways nasty event is Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart who not only share a terrible on screen chemistry (which is strange considering their success in Adventureland) that’s akin to pairing a plank of wood with a slab of concreate but share in portraying two unlikeable and seen before characters that do little to encourage audience investment.
Eisenberg in particular needed his role as Lex Luther in Batman vs Superman to succeed more than ever as his recent diminishing returns have become quite worrying after great feats in both the Social Network and Zombieland and despite the recent The Double offering him a good crack at something interesting, a huge portion of his works of late have been anything but memorable. Meanwhile the frustration with Kristin “lip biting” Stewart continues and while she pops up in some fine productions her history of weak performances grows by the year, American Ultra’s included.
There will be some that find American Ultra’s uneasy mix of social commentary, slacker vibes and gore filled violence appealing but for the majority, this will be a hard to tolerate experience that is neither as smart, funny or interesting as it thinks it is. A potential cult classic has therefore been lost in an abundance of missed opportunities and miscued ideas.
1 spoon out of 5