Films

American Ultra (2015) Film Review

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This is a stoner comedy about a stoner who is in fact a government agent, he is marked as a liability and targeted for extermination. But he’s too well-trained and too high for them to handle.

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This is 2015’s big budget stoner comedy and like so many others of its time it splits critics, these films are made for a specific niche of film lover, stoners, so its got a random plot with some good comedy – well good stoner comedy. It has a little more depth than expected and of course drugs, lots of drugs.

I won’t lie as I went into this film dreading it, in fact I had almost zero interest in seeing it but by the end I was won over.  Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) spends most of his time getting high and writing a graphic novel about a superhero monkey called Apollo Ape.

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Little does he know that he was at one point trained by the CIA to be the perfect killing machine. When the agency targets him for termination, his creator activates his latent skills which triggers the mild-mannered slacker into a deadly weapon. With these new found skills he has to survive and protect his girl friend from their impending doom at the hands of the CIA. I won’t lie this is a unique plot and sounds really stupid but what I was surprised at was: 1.how good the action scenes would be and 2.how good the emotional scenes would be.

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The action in the film was superb, it was at times funny and others a little gruesome as we do see a guy taken down with a spoon but when it starts going it is great. One key example is the supermarket fight where we have our protagonist taking down quite a few bad guys, the way its shot and flows you really feel like you’re in the film. I love those shots and it pays off. As for the emotion, the genuine connection between Mike and Phoebe (Kristen Stewart) is great and it’s what really motivates the film. Both actors are outstanding in their performances and their comedy is great but the way they react to the troubles that each of them face, it’s really quite moving and adds a touch of beauty to this outrageous and chaotic picture. Another real joy was seeing the awesome John Leguzami in this picture, he is one of my favourite actors and someone I can always make time for. Rounding out this cast was Topher Grace, Bill Pullman, Connie Briton and the always great Tony Hale, a truly great cast.

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If you’re looking for a little weirdness and something that will make you a little bit emotional this will be the film for you.

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