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Film Review: American Ultra

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Title: American Ultra

Director: Nima Nourizadeh

Writer: Max Landis

Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Connie Britton, Topher Grace, Walton Goggins, John Leguizamo

Release Date: In cinemas now

Review by Dave Griffiths

Were you one of these people that loved Kick-Ass and Kingsman: The Secret Service? Well if you are then you are going to want to sit up and take notice of American Ultra, a film that ends up being one of the surprise hits of the year.

American Ultra beings with your typical stoner couple Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg – The Social Network) and Phoebe Larson (Kristen Stewart – Twilight) doing what your typical stoner couple do from day-to-day… working dead-end jobs and well… getting stoned. But then suddenly everything changes when Mike suddenly becomes a target for CIA Agent Adrian Grace (Topher Grace – Spider-Man 3) who is so eager to hunt him and kill him that he has psychos like Laugher (Walton Goggins – Django Unchained) on his case.

With Mike unsure why the CIA is suddenly after him he turns to his drug dealer, Rose (John Leguizamo – Romeo + Juliet) for help, but soon it becomes clear that the only person with all the answers is Agent Victoria Lasseter (Connie Britton – Me, Earl & The Dying Girl).

American Ultra is one of those films that simply has you thinking wtf? Surprisingly it comes from the director that brought us the awful Project X, but somewhere along the way he has learnt how to recognize and brilliant script because now he is at the helm of one of the most creative films of the year.

The what-the-hell-is-going-to-happen-next mystique that surrounds American Ultra pushes it along at a fast pace, while it’s witty dialogue and unashamed crassness makes it a film that is destined to become a cult favorite to anyone that likes their cinema to be a little left of centre. The film does at times call for its characters to be a little over the top but not to the extent that they become unbelievable or annoying, although while the blood and gore violence may impress some viewers it may also scare off others.

The great screenplay for American Ultra also allows for surprising acting performances. Eisenberg and Stewart seem to relish the fact that they are playing stoners and just like his character Eisenberg becomes an unusually good ‘superhero.’ These two are well supported by Britton and Goggins who also seem to enjoy their roles while the big surprise is Topher Grace who moves along from playing the squeaky clean lead in That 70’s Show to a tough, very-hated CIA agent extremely well.

American Ultra is not a film for the popcorn set. But if you like a politically incorrect, violent action flick with a hint of black comedy then you’ll be more than happy with the result.

 

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