Friday, August 28, 2015

American Ultra

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I caught this action/comedy flick while in Spokane for the WorldCon.  The movie is a member of a sub-genre I've always enjoyed:  the sleeper agent who's suddenly activated.  The first Bourne movie is the best recent example of this type, and American Ultra is not going to challenge that film's standing.  What American Ultra has going for it, though, is the intriguing conceit that the sleeper agent has become a stoner.

Jesse Eisenberg does a very good job in the lead role, sticking consistently to character as a hapless, concerned, caring stoner.  At first, it's fun to watch his reactions to his own violence, but that thrill wears thin quickly.  Kristen Stewart also excels at the job of being his girlfriend; this is the first time I've ever really liked a performance of hers.

Despite the good performances and interesting conceit, American Ultra never manages to become more than simply entertaining for two reasons:  it spends too much time on the stoner side of the characters, and even more than most movies of this type, absolutely nothing about its plot makes sense.  To enjoy this one, you absolutely must suspend every shred of your logic and disbelief.

Fortunately, I'm good at doing that, so I had a fine time at the film and generally enjoyed it.  If you can bring the same attitude to this flick, I suspect you'll also have a good time.  Otherwise, though, you might want to save this one for DVD/Blu-Ray/Netflix/Amazon/whatever way you get movies to come to your home.

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