Taglines: Assassins aren’t born. They’re made.
Twenty three-year-old Mitch lost his parents to a tragic car accident at the age of fourteen, and his girlfriend to a terrorist attack just as they were engaged. Seeking revenge, he is enlisted by CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy as a black ops recruit. Kennedy then assigns Cold War veteran Stan Hurley to train Mitch. Together they will later on investigate a wave of apparently random attacks on military and civilian targets. The discovery of a pattern in the violence leads them to a joint mission with a lethal Turkish agent to stop a mysterious operative intent on starting a world war in the Middle East.
American Assassin is a 2017 American action thriller film directed by Michael Cuesta and written by Stephen Schiff, Michael Finch, Edward Zwick, and Marshall Herskovitz, based on Vince Flynn’s 2010 novel of the same name. The film stars Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan, Shiva Negar, and Taylor Kitsch, and follows young CIA black ops recruit Mitch Rapp, who helps a Cold War veteran try to stop the detonation of a rogue nuclear weapon.
The film was released in the United States on September 15, 2017, and grossed over $66 million worldwide. It received mixed reviews from critics, who described the plot as mundane, clichéd, and without thrills, but praised the cast’s performances. Principal photography took place between September and December 2016 in London, Rome, and Phuket, with additional filming in Valletta and Birmingham.
American Assassin grossed $36.2 million in the United States and Canada, and $30.4 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $66.6 million, against a production budget of $33 million. In North America, the film was released alongside Mother!, and was projected to gross $12–14 million from 3,154 theaters in its opening weekend. It made $915,000 from Thursday night previews at 2,400 theaters and $5.8 million on its opening day. It went on to debut to $14.8 million, finishing second at the box office, behind holdover It. In its second weekend, the film made $6.3 million, dropping to 4th.
About the Story
Mitch Rapp and his girlfriend are on vacation in Ibiza, Spain. Moments after proposing, a jihadist cell lands on the beach and begins to attack the civilians with assault rifles. Amid the carnage, Rapp frantically attempts to find his fiancée, but is unable to prevent her death at the hands of the terrorists.
Eighteen months later, Rapp, now consumed by his desire for vengeance, frequents an internet message board where the terrorist responsible for his girlfriend’s murder quizzes Rapp on aspects of Islam and jihad. Having secured an invitation to meet him face to face, Rapp prepares to take his vengeance on the man responsible for his girlfriend’s death, but before he can kill the terrorist, the cell is suddenly ambushed by U.S. Special Forces.
Upset over the perception that he has been denied his vengeance, Rapp repeatedly stabs the terrorist he was after, who is already dead from the ambush, before being dragged out by the U.S. forces. In a CIA safe house Rapp undergoes 30 days of debriefing before being offered a chance by CIA Deputy Director Irene Kennedy to join a black operations unit codenamed Orion. Its head, Stan Hurley, is a former U.S. Navy SEAL and a Cold War veteran who trains Rapp and the other potential recruits in asymmetric warfare.
Elsewhere, word comes down through intelligence channels that weapons grade nuclear material has gone missing from a decommissioned Russian nuclear facility. The material in question appears to be heading to Iranian hardliners, who are upset with the Iranian government’s nuclear deal with the U.S. While verifying the sale of the nuclear material in Poland the plutonium is intercepted by a third party, who eliminates the sellers before vanishing into the crowd. In Virginia, Hurley sees news reports about the incident in Poland and tentatively identifies the perpetrator as a former Navy SEAL and Orion operative believed to have been killed in action and now going by the codename “Ghost”. Hurley’s team is sent into Turkey to intercept the buyer “Ghost” is working for.
In Istanbul, Hurley’s team is identified, and the attempted intercept of the trigger device fails. Rapp pursues the buyer to his apartment, and after killing the man, retrieves his laptop. The information leads the team to Rome, where Orion operatives identify a nuclear physicist needed to craft the nuclear material into a functional nuclear weapon. While in Rome, Rapp uncovers a co-worker, Annika, as a foreign agent for Iran. She explains that she is working for the mainstream Iranian faction which is attempting to stop the hardliners from acquiring nuclear material. During a meeting between Hurley and an Iranian contact, Ghost ambushes them and kills the contact and captures Hurley.
At the CIA safe house in Rome, Annika is being moved under guard by two Mossad agents when Rapp intercepts the car and frees her. Working together, both locate the subterranean headquarters “Ghost” is using to build the nuclear device. After infiltrating the tunnels, Rapp locates and frees a badly injured Hurley, however Annika is captured by “Ghost” and she kills herself with “Ghost’s” gun before “Ghost” escapes onto a boat with the nuke. Based on an earlier conversation, Hurley deduces that “Ghost” intends to make a kamikaze attack against the U.S. Navy’s Sixth Fleet. Rapp chases after “Ghost’s” boat, while the Sixth Fleet, alerted to the impending nuclear attack through CIA channels, prepares for the attack.
American Assassin (2017)
Directed by: Michael Cuesta
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan, Charlotte Vega, Shiva Negar, Christopher Bomford, Chris Webster, Sanaa Lathan, David Suchet, Adam Collins, Joost Janssen, Scott Adkins
Screenplay by: Stephen Schiff, Michael Finch
Production Design by: Andrew Laws
Cinematography by: Enrique Chediak
Film Editing by: Conrad Buff
Costume Design by: Anna B. Sheppard
Set Decoration by: Terry Jones, Naomi Moore
Art Direction by: Lek Chaiyan Chunsuttiwat, Roberta Federico, Matthew Gray, Jane Harwood, Justin Warburton-Brown
Music by: Steven Price
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence throughout, some torture, language and brief nudity.
Distributed by: Lionsgate Films
Release Date: September 15, 2017