Release Date: Aug. 21, 2015
Running Time: 96 minutes
The Guest reversed engineered for the stoner crowd, American Ultra never gets past its jokey premise that Jesse Eisenberg’s small-town pothead is actually a U.S. government-created one-man killing machine unaware of his dubious past. All hell breaks loose when the CIA declares Eisenberg’s Mike Howell a failed experiment and sends a small army to the sleepy West Virginia town to eradicate him. Eisenberg seems to share our amazement at some of the things he’s required to do as lethal weapon awoken from his slumber in this moderately funny action thriller. If you ever wanted to see Eisenberg employ a spoon, a frying pan or an assortment of garden tools to maim or kill, American Ultra won’t disappoint. On the other hand Eisenberg’s Adventureland costar Kristen Stewart looks downright bored as Mike’s constantly endangered girlfriend Phoebe. It’s obvious Stewart’s heart is in now such challenging indie fare as Camp X-Ray and Clouds of Sils Maria than this paycheck gig. Not that director Nima Nourizadeh and screenwriter Max Landis give Stewart much to do—her Phoebe is just there for Mike to protect from harm’s way. Nourizadeh and Lands also waste their supporting cast—Connie Britton, Bill Pullman, and Topher Grace—with the exception of John Leguizamo, who briefly brings some much-needed energy to the pedestrian proceedings. Not that much else happens in American Ultra beyond Mike and a bunch of CIA goons destroying up a sleepy West Virginia town. Landis offers some lazy pot jokes before and during Mike’s standoff against the CIA. Nourizadeh, who previously failed to stir much interest in the inane antics of Project X’s three unfabulous party boys, does a serviceable job choreographing the mayhem that follows Mike but doesn’t give much personality to a film that desperately needs one. At least there’s some amusement to be found in Eisenberg unleashing his inner Jason Statham.
Aired: Aug. 20, 2015
Web site: http://www.americanultrathemovie.com/