American Ultra: Film Review

This stoner action comedy will not be for everyone. American Ultra didn’t do too well at the U.S. box office and has received incredibly mixed reviews, but lucky for me, this is right up my street and I totally loved it. It has comedy, it has action and it had Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart kicking ass. What more do you need?

Eisenberg plays Mike Howell, a stoner who lives in a small town in West Virginia with his girlfriend Phoebe (Stewart). What he doesn’t realise is that he is only surviving “asset” of a CIA experimental program Ultra which turned petty criminals into lethal weapons. Agent Victoria Lasseter (Connie Britton) learns that her boss/rival Adrian Yates (Topher Grace) wants Howell exterminated so he sends his operatives from his own experimental program to take him out. Unfortunately for them, Lasseter “activates” Howell, turning him into the killing machine he was programmed to be.

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This works for me mostly due to the casting because you just don’t expect those actors in something like this. I love Eisenberg and Stewart and they bounce off each other really well. You believe them as stoners and watch in awe as they bust out professional attack moves. I found it a shame that the brilliant beginning set piece was spoiled in the trailer, as that would have been an awesome gem to discover in the movie.

Halfway through I was wishing there was more action and less talking but then there is an epic showdown in a supermarket which gave me exactly what I wanted. I love seeing Eisenberg just take people out in cold blood, it looked amazing. There is also an awesome scene in a basement club where they are tinted by UV and that also looks super cool. The epilogue scene is also genius and stick around for the credits as the animation is pretty sweet.

I wanted this to be truly awesome, and while I loved it a lot (especially towards the end), I still wanted more action and less talk and it could have done with some bigger laughs. It was funny but not the major laugh-out-loud kind. The casting was perfect, I liked the plot and dialogue, but I just wanted more of everything – action, blood, violence and comedy.

In cinemas now 

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