Posts Tagged ‘Sanaa Lathan’

Rogue Mercenary

American Assassin

Director: Michael Cuesta

Cast: Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Taylor Kitsch, Sanaa Lathan, David Suchet, Scott Adkins, Shiva Negar, Navid Neghban, Charlotte Vega

Kill the Messenger director Michael Cuesta returns to the big screen with his next film the action packed globetrotting American Assassin starring Dylan O’Brien (Deepwater Horizon) as Mitch Rapp and Michael Keaton (Spotlight, Birdman) as his CIA trainer Stan Hurley.

American Assassin opens on an idyllic Spanish beach in Ibiza whereby Mitch is videoing his gorgeous girlfriend Katrina swimming and whereupon he soon proposes to her. The romantic seemingly delightful scene is shattered when terrorists open fire on the beach goers in a horrific scene that which mirrored a real life attack in Tunisia.

Then back in America, Mitch is recruited by the CIA after a failed attempt to take revenge on the perpetrators of the attack. He is sent off for training in Virginia by the tough Hurley whilst the deputy director Irene Kennedy played by Sanaa Lathan (Now You See Me 2) is handling a bigger crisis: weapons grade plutonium has been stolen from an abandoned site in Russia and is currently being sold on the black market by a rogue mercenary simply known as Ghost played with psychopathic intensity by Taylor Kitsch (Lone Survivor, Savages).

The action moves to Istanbul, Turkey whereby Mitch teams up with CIA counter-terrorism operative played by Iranian-Canadian star Shiva Negar as they hunt down the Ghost and through various political intrigue between the Iranians and the CIA, they discover that this lethal rogue mercenary plans on using the plutonium to maximum effect in the Mediterranean.

From Istanbul to Rome, the action is swift with the 26 year old Dylan O’Brien holding his own as a lead actor in a big budget action film as he beefs up thanks to his experience on the hugely popular Maze Runner franchise.

Audiences should take note that there is a gruesome torture scene in a sprawling refugee housing project outside Rome.

American Assassin is a thrilling action film at face value, expertly shot by Cuesta and making use of the extensive locations from Virginia to Dubai. Gritty, fast paced and definitely entertaining, with the most notable scenes being the Virtual Reality assassin practice sequence as well as the speedboat fight scene on the Mediterranean.

American Assassin gets a film rating of 7 out of 10 and is recommended viewing for action film fans.

The film is not quite in the category of the spy thriller Jason Bourne but definitely worthy enough to be classed within the same gritty, espionage globetrotting genre, which has become such a lucrative money spinner. Perhaps director Michael Cuesta will consider making a sequel maximizing the potential of its hunky young lead star, Dylan O’Brien.

 

Digital Illusions

Now You See Me 2

now_you_see_me_two_ver15

Director: Jon M. Chu

Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Lizzy Caplan, Mark Ruffalo, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Daniel Radcliffe, Dave Franco, Sanaa Lathan

Following the success of the 2013 magical film Now You See Me, there was definitely a call to make a sequel and reunite the illusive four horsemen.

now_you_see_me_two_ver3

In the sequel, Now You See Me 2, G. I. Joe: Retaliation director Jon M. Chu misses the mark in providing a magical follow up to the original film, despite reuniting the same cast including Jesse Eisenberg as Daniel Atlas, Woody Harrelson as Merritt McKinney who also has a rather irritating identical twin brother in this film, Mark Ruffalo as Dylan Rhodes and Dave Franco as Jack Wilder.

now_you_see_me_two_ver5

New to the cast is master illusionist Lula played by Lizzy Caplan famous from the raunchy Masters of Sex TV series and the superfluous Daniel Radcliffe as a reclusive tech billionaire Walter Mabry who recruits the magicians to steal back a ubiquitous yet highly guarded computer chip which can hack into anything at an international exchange in the glamorous resort casinos of Macau.

now_you_see_me_two_ver9

As the action moves swiftly from New York to Macau and then onto London, the magical tricks and digital illusions even involving numerous card tricks in which the microchip seemingly passes from one horseman to another, Now You See Me 2 appears to be lacking in the essential element of revelation. Something the first film did so brilliantly. For as the optical illusions, card tricks and magic increases, there is less time to provide valuable explanations to the bewildered if slightly amused audience.

now_you_see_me_two_ver7

Veteran actors Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman reprise their roles as Arthur Tressler and Thaddeus Bradley respectively whose unholy alliance leads the Four Horseman to play the ultimate trick on the chief villain, a poorly played part by Daniel Radcliffe, who unfortunately appeared to be out of place in this sequel. Perhaps Radcliffe should stick to stronger script material with meatier roles in mind like he did in Victor Frankenstein and Kill Your Darlings.

now_you_see_me_two_ver2

Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight, Foxcatcher) is plausibly believable as the elusive FBI agent Rhodes despite occasionally giving the impression that he should not have signed on for this sequel. Harrelson is in top form playing twins and the only sparks are provided by Eisenberg and Caplan who seem to be the most energetic and enthusiastic magicians.

Whilst Now You See Me 2 falls short of being as brilliant as the first film, it certainly is a fun film to watch even if the plot is slightly convoluted especially in between the globetrotting disappearing acts that the main actors seem to do quite effortlessly. Now You See Me 2 is an enjoyable film, but nothing as magical or dazzling as the original. Lets hope the third film in this magical trilogy is more impressive.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
February 2018
M T W T F S S
« Jan    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728  
  • BBC Outlines Plan to Become ‘The Best Place for Women to Work’
    The BBC has appointed its Scotland boss, Donalda MacKinnon, to lead a program it said aims to “sweep away any barriers to women progressing, fulfilling their ambitions and reaching the top.” The U.K. pubcaster is under fire after publishing talent pay figures that revealed a startling gap between the earnings of its top male and […]
    Stewart Clarke
  • Universal Music Chairman Lucian Grainge to Be Honored by Songwriters Hall of Fame (EXCLUSIVE)
    Lucian Grainge, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, will be honored by the Songwriters Hall of Fame as the 2018 recipient of the Howie Richmond Hitmaker Award at the organization’s annual induction ceremony in New York on June 14. Inductees at this year’s event include Bill Anderson, Robert “Kool” Bell, Ronald Bell, George Brown & James “JT” […]
    Jem Aswad
  • Mary J. Blige, Common, Sufjan Stevens, More to Perform at Academy Awards
    Gael García Bernal, Mary J. Blige, Andra Day, Natalia Lafourcade, Miguel, Keala Settle, Sufjan Stevens and Common will perform this year’s nominated songs at the 90th Academy Awards ceremony, show producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd announced today. “We’re excited to have these talented artists showcase the powerful contribution music makes to filmmaking,” De Luca […]
    Jem Aswad
  • David Mamet Says He Wrote a Play About Harvey Weinstein
    David Mamet said he has written a play about Harvey Weinstein. Mamet mentioned the new script in an interview in the Chicago Tribune. The new work is called “Bitter Wheat,” and there’s a Chicago stage veteran, who’s now in films, interested in starring in it, according to the article. No exact production plans or timeline […]
    Gordon Cox
  • Stephen Fry Reveals Battle with Cancer in Online Video
    Stephen Fry has told fans about his battle with prostate cancer in a video posted to his website, Friday. The video from the actor, comedian, and several times BAFTA Awards presenter, opens with the title “A Message from Stephen Fry,” before the star recounts how he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and subsequently had surgery. […]
    Stewart Clarke