"American Ultra" stars Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart in the lead roles as a couple with a fondness for weed. When Eisenberg, who is a unaware of his government connection, is seen as a threat, Topher Grace goes all out to try and eliminate him, leading to some truly ridiculous, yet funny antics.
Eisenberg (Mike) and Stewart (Phoebe) have great chemistry together in this film as they both react in realistic ways to the situation at hand while maintaining a believable relationship. Stewart, who is often mocked as an actress due to her role in the "Twilight" films, continues to prove herself as someone who can do multiple roles. Her performance here is excellent and shows that she is someone to be continuously watched.
The most important aspect of this film is the comedy and it works for the most part. I do think that I laughed more due to the crowd I was in than if I had been watching this in my living room, but many of the jokes did land quite nicely despite being seen in the trailer. That said, when the film tries to include more sincere moments, mainly between Eisenberg and Stewart after the action has taken place, it seems awkward, and the film seems to physically try and push it back into the land of comedy.
As with many action film reviews, I always have to commend the choreographers who set up these really neat scenes. Eisenberg works as well as one would expect for an action star and his sometimes awkward fighting style added a layer of realism to the character. While he does know how to fight, the execution is that of one who doesn't, so seeing these combined adds some laughs. Although this is another section in which the film could have added something more. Eisenberg is seen as a virtually indestructible force, getting cuts and bruises but never truly going down. He never faces a challenge which tests his abilities to their full potential, and while this doesn't hurt the film that much, it would have been nice to see something like this come into the picture.
The film begins with a scene showing our hero in a precarious situation and then rewinds back to the beginning to show the audience how these events came to pass. This normally works well, despite the audience knowing that the protagonist will survive every encounter up until that point, but when the film does finally catch up to that first scene, it does literally nothing with it, causing me to wonder what the point of putting it in there was from the start. Again, not a huge issue, but something which annoyed me later on.
The ending does, however, set up something of a sequel. If the film does well, it will likely get one, although I don't know how much free time Eisenberg will have now that his role in the DC films will be launching come March, so we could see the potential sequel somewhere down the line a few years.
A few spoilers which I wanted to mention, so if you haven't seen the film, skip to the next paragraph. At the beginning of the film, Eisenberg and Stewart try to go on a trip to Hawaii, but can't due to Mike's panic attacks. One would think that Stewart, later revealed to be Mike's CIA handler, would have known this and not tried to go to Hawaii in the first place. Also, for a CIA agent, she doesn't really do too many impressive things and gets her ass handed to her on multiple accounts. I'd have liked to see Mike and Phoebe on a more equal fighting ground.
As a whole though, I found "American Ultra" to be a very fun film with enough action and laughs to get you through the 90 minutes fairly unscathed. While it has its problems, I'd definitely like to see a sequel, since it has a similar ending as "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." with the team finally ready to go by the end.
But those are my thoughts. Leave yours in the comments below!
Check out my video review here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaonLtdbKr8