American Ultra is the junior varsity version of Jason Bourne and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. It features a young cast of talented actors who are all miscast. The script by Max Landis is brutal, mean-spirited, and clever. The film’s flimsy premise doesn’t sustain interest through its seemingly endless running time.
Taking its cues from the real-life ULTRA program of the 1950s, American Ultra utilizes this factual brainwashing experiment and repurposes it for the modern era. A stoner (Jesse Eisenberg) who works at a convenience store is reactivated and becomes a deadly weapon capable of unimaginable violence. His long-suffering girlfriend (Kristen Stewart) is caught up in the action as a squad of CIA dispatched hitmen to attempt to kill the drug-addled couple.
I believe the creative people behind the scenes intended to merge John Hughes with Shane Black for a generation that probably isn’t familiar with either. Callous humor and scenes of energized mayhem are highlights of the picture, but these are offset by a hateful tone towards its female characters and a dull, predictable storyline.
Director: Nima Nourizadeh
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Topher Grace