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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Most of the movie is about revenge, both on the part of the good guys and the bad guys. Much is sacrificed to save a single person.
Positive Role Models
The main character is a cold, revenge-minded loner who doesn't really get along with others. Most other characters are likewise unsympathetic. Stan is at least fun, though he's also prone to fairly negative traits. That said, supporting characters include tough female spies who can hold their own.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of guns and shooting. Blood spurts, dead bodies. Martial arts and hand-to-hand fighting. Stabbing/slicing with knives. A scene of torture: a man's arm is in a vise, his fingernails pulled off. Nuclear explosion.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Topless woman. A marriage proposal includes a kiss.
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Frequent use of "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "d--khead," "a--hole," "ass," "goddamn," "son of a bitch," "hell," "balls," "hard-on," and "Jesus Christ" and "for god's sake" (as exclamations).
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Background smoking. Drinking from flask.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that American Assassin is an action/thriller about a group of secret agents trying to stop the sale and assembly of a nuclear bomb. Expect graphic violence, with lots of guns and shooting, blood spurts, dead bodies, both martial arts and hand-to-hand fighting, stabbing/slicing with knives, and a nuclear detonation. Also, a man is tortured: His arm is clamped in a vise, and his fingernails are ripped off. Language is also strong, with several uses of "f--k," "s--t," and more. A woman is shown topless in one scene. Characters drink from a flask, and there's some background smoking. The movie is clumsy and poorly written, so unless teen fans of the Maze Runner films and TV's Teen Wolf are champing at the bit to see Dylan O'Brien on the big screen, it's unlikely to hold much interest. Michael Keaton co-stars. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.