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Parents' Guide to

American Assassin

By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Poorly written, violent thriller about cold-blooded revenge.

Movie R 2017 111 minutes
American Assassin Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 10 parent reviews

age 18+

Great escapist entertainment

Great action movie. Its not going to change the world. But if you are looking for a good action / spy/ movies for a enjoyable 90 minutes or so , don't look any further. In my opinion you should disregard Rotten Tomatoes. As is seems the more depressing and less entertaining a movie is the more Rotten Tomatoes critics think of it. Movie snobs not ordinary moviegoers.
age 17+

Poor Writing? High Stakes Suspensful Thriller

American Assassin is among the best espionage/thriller/military films I have encountered in my life. The acting is top notch and the script is well written, whatever certain critics have to say about it. The film possesses a gritty realism and depicts CIA and military operations in a realistic fashion free from the flashy stunt work which is often so prevalent in such films. The action is well designed and highly realistic. Yes, the main character's motivation is revenge and this may be an issue for some viewers. I however am not put off by this motivation and neither are many people based on the popularity of films such as Gladiator. It's a matter of personal belief. There are some fairly intense scenes of violence including torture and the beach scene in particular is quite disturbing. There is also occasional strong language. Because of this violence and language I recommend this this film for mature 17s or for 18 and above. However I give this my full endorsement as a quality film for those craving realistic action and an edge of your seat thriller of suspense. Enjoy!

This title has:

Too much violence

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (10 ):
Kids say (10 ):

Based on a novel by Vince Flynn, this thriller adds "American" to its title in an effort to sound important or entertaining; it's not. Rather, American Assassin is clumsily written and directed and frequently absurd. Playing a crusty, veteran agent, Keaton brings the film its only real personality, but he's not enough. The rest of the cast, including O'Brien, is hopelessly bland.

Four writers -- including noted filmmaker Edward Zwick -- are credited with cobbling together the screenplay, which consists mainly of laughably bad expositional dialogue and awkward attempts to cover up plot holes. Director Michael Cuesta, who previously made the excellent Kill the Messenger, surprises with his lack of skill here, resorting to muddy cinematography and jigsaw editing to distract from the lack of coherence. The ending is especially awful, not only in its drastic departure from the movie's already ill-fated logic, but also in its blatant disregard for humanity in general.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: September 15, 2017
  • On DVD or streaming: December 5, 2017
  • Cast: Dylan O'Brien , Michael Keaton , Sanaa Lathan
  • Director: Michael Cuesta
  • Inclusion Information: Latino directors, Female actors, Black actors
  • Studio: CBS Films
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Run time: 111 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: strong violence throughout, some torture, language and brief nudity
  • Last updated: July 10, 2023

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