SYNOPSIS: American Ultra is a fast-paced action comedy about Mike (Jesse Eisenberg), a seemingly hapless and unmotivated stoner whose small-town life with his live-in girlfriend, Phoebe (Kristen Stewart), is suddenly turned upside down. Unbeknownst to him, Mike is actually a highly trained, lethal sleeper agent. In the blink of an eye, as his secret past comes back to haunt him, Mike is thrust into the middle of a deadly government operation and is forced to summon his inner action-hero in order to survive.
American Ultra is liked a stoned, slacker Jason Bourne on the loose. It’s comical. It’s extremely violent and it’s very entertaining for the most part. Writer Max Landis (Chronicle) famously went on a twitter rant after the movie bombed. He is not exactly wrong though and audiences should at least give this movie a chance on home video.
The premise to be frank is nothing special, it simply takes a conventional spy flick and hilarious turned it into a ridiculous high-octane action comedy. Jesse Eisenberg plays Mike Howell, a stoner who spends his days doodling while working at a convenience store located in a sleepy town called Lima. He has a girlfriend Phoebe (Kristen Stewart) who seems to love him a lot and a buddy named Rose (John Leguizamo) whom he can turn to for help anytime.
At the same time, CIA agent Victoria Lasseter (Connie Britton) realized her fellow cunning colleague; Yates (Topher Grace) is about to issue an order to terminate one of Victoria’s past assets. And the asset happened to be Mike Howell. Victoria must race against time to save Mike before Yates’ assassins laid their hands on him.
Expecting Landis’ script to shed light on Mike’s past and what sort of convert operation he was in is pretty much fruitless. As a gentle reminder, this is definitely not Jason Bourne material. The screenplay prefers to keep the carnage rolling and setting up various over-the-top action set pieces for Mike to busy with. Eventually, it turned out to be very predictable as well and given its Eisenberg and Stewart second collaboration (it has transcend to a third with Café Society), their undeniable mesmerizing chemistry is what keeps things going.
The action sequences are absolutely bongus and I must say very well executed and choreographed. Eisenberg’s character made good use of items which are lying around him as weapons, very much Jackie Chan style except the violence. The finale, which took place in a supermarket, is a solid example.
Instead of a raunchy stoner comedy which we have seen a thousand times, Nima Nourizadeh (Project X) and Landis delivered a non-stop bloody fun movie outing. Stop the nitpicking and enjoy the absurdity.
Unless you are a diehard fan else there’s nothing special to uncover in the Audio Commentary with Director Nima Nourizadeh. Covering various aspects of making the movie, Activating American Ultra runs at a hefty 40 minutes almost half of the movie’s running time. Assassinating on a Budget looks at the common itemsused to take out the enemies and lastly a 2 minutes Gag Reel.
Maybe because it’s shot in digital, imaging looks murky in darker scenes and some scenes look washed out. Audio 5.1 is solid on the whole given the movie is peppered with heavy gunfire and explosions.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee