American Ultra is set to be one of the best action comedies of the summer and with such an interesting plot, how could it not? That interesting plot, however, has a lot more truth to it than you may think. The film is based around the idea of sleeper agents hiding undercover in the United States. A convenient store clerk, Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg), is unaware that he is a sleeper agent and he is activated without his knowledge. Since he is unaware of this, the government attempts to dispose of him and his girlfriend Phoebe (Kristen Stewart) because they see him as a threat to national security. Everything seems great until you realize that this film is based on some very true events, some are extremely sickening...
American Ultra is real?
No, American Ultra is not a true story, but the inspiration behind it surely is. There have been plenty of examples of governments using sleeper agents to infiltrate enemy countries. If you want to check out a few examples, check out my article on sleeper agents here. The most notorious sleeper agent program of all time included uses of mind-control and the use of psychedelic drugs. This program, code named 'Project MKUltra,' would go down as one of the biggest moral and ethical scandals in the history of the United States.
What is Project MKUltra?
Project MKUltra was a program created by the CIA in the early 1950s. The program mainly focused around the illegal testing on humans in order to provide more efficient ways to torture and interrogate. These experiments usually involved the use of illegal substances, oftentimes LSD, which was the program's main test drug of choice. In order to test different brain functions and behaviors, the experiments usually included the use of hypnosis, sensory deprivation, forced solitude, and verbal and sexual abuse, among many other varying forms of torture.
It's crazy to think that a program like this actually existed. I'm surprised that it took almost 20 years to get this program shut down, even. To think that people actually took part in this sort of operation is absolutely insane. American Ultra is based off of these sorts of programs, but it definitely takes a much more comedic approach. However, when you sit back and look at the events that transpired in or because of the real-life sleeper agent programs, this film's plot is far from funny.
How are Project MKUltra and American Ultra similar?
American Ultra may not be a re-telling of Project MKUltra, but they definitely have similarities. It seems as if in American Ultra the main character has been subject to some sort of mind-control, or at the very least, mind-altering drugs. Both, perhaps? We'll see. The sleeper agent program that Mike is apparently a part of seems very unethical and has no moral standards to live up to. The head of the program (played by Topher Grace) seems hellbent on controlling his test subjects at any and all costs. Both American Ultra's plot and Project MKUltra focus on one thing: Mind-control. Forcefully altering a person's mind by way of drugs or torture for personal gain is pretty sick. Unfortunately, this tactic was very much utilized throughout the '50s, '60s and early '70s. Fortunately for us, American Ultra will bring a funny twist to a very dark issue of the past. Hopefully they can pull it off well because I cannot wait to see the hi(gh)larious action.
Check out the trailer here:
American Ultra is out now!