American Ultra – Good, Bad & Ugly Review


Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 47% (Critics) / 57% (Audience)
Directed By: Nima Nourizadeh
Written By: Max Landis
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace, John Leguizamo and Connie Britton
Studio: Lionsgate Pictures
Synopsis: A stoner – who is in fact a government agent – is marked as a liability and targeted for extermination. But he’s too well-trained and too high for them to handle. – (Source)

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The Good:
I am a fan of Jesse Eisenberg’s work and mostly for the apathetic stoner dork stuff (like in ZOMBIELAND or ADVENTURELAND) than the slippery intellectual douche stuff so I was all in for his portrayal of devout pothead sleeper agent Mike Howell. And amazingly Eisenberg didn’t look bizarre in the action scenes at all. I actually bought that he could kill two men with some Ramen noodles and a spoon. He and Kristen Stewart also had pretty good chemistry. I think Eisenberg may be the only actor in Hollywood that Stewart can convincingly show romantic interest in.
“Connie Britton: Action Hero”…who knew that was something that was missing in my life? But now that I know I really am going to need more of it.
Topher Grace may be the most perfect asshole ever. It is kinda alarming at how well he played his role in this film. And Walton Goggins was great as a demented pyromaniac hitman.
The Action scenes were all very well done which is commendable when you take into account how many of the actors int his film are not typically found in movies chock full of action scenes. I was also pleasantly surprised with just how graphic the violence was, I was expecting things to be toned down a bit but this movie went for the full “1980s action movie” levels of violence. Writer Max Landis and director Nima Nourizadeh get major points for not wavering on that front while also maintaining a very nice balance of humor and wit to offset the serious/violent stuff.

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The Bad:
John Leguizamo was very under-utilized in this film. He was funny in the small amount of scenes he had but I think more could have been done with his character. Same thing goes for Tony Hale.

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The Ugly:
I’m sorry but the whole idea of Kristen Stewart as a CIA agent is just too far-fetched for me. I’ll buy into almost anything but that one is a bit too outlandish for this guy.

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Final Verdict: Really great chemistry between the two leads, an out of character showing by Connie Britton, some kick-butt fight choreography and a really smart script makes this fast-paced action comedy a fun time at the theater. It may have gotten lot in the summer movie blockbuster shuffle but AMERICAN ULTRA is definitely worth giving a shot. It does not disappoint at all.

Grade: B+

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