American Ultra Review

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         American Ultra, a film I was really anticipating and then suddenly fizzed into the air and never came out in my native Mexico. And in all honestly, there’s a reason, completely unrelated with the film’s quality, American Ultra’s marketing was completely botched. Being sold as a stoner comedy crossed with the Bourne franchise, American Ultra is none of that when you actually view the movie, sure it has some ridiculous action set-pieces and people smoke weed in it but American Ultra is love story from its very core and that’s the most well-handled, shinning piece of Ultra. Focusing on a guy who has every intention to marry his girlfriend but is constantly obstructed by his own stupidity or sudden anxiety attacks, American Ultra is about triumphant love and proving yourself in the eyes of your significant other, finally finding that it factor and then realizing that sure that enhances your personality but in a relationship that’s actually worthless and the only thing you know is that you’re in love. Following the trajectory of Stewart’s Eisenberg’s relationship is the shinning portion of this film, the most investing element and the most relatable aspect of the film. But, in classic Landis fashion the tables are turned and now you have an action film invading this classic love story. Yet, it all makes sense by the end of it and the way everything is executed the film is allowed to continue with fluidity except for the action. Saying this, I do accept that the action in this film is toned to a level of complete absurdity in a way that it becomes a parody of action films today, and is that aspect of the film that doesn’t necessarily pull the film down but does feel jarring in the beginning. There are so many cool action promises this film lays out but due to that typical rapid-cut style of today many of those things are missed if you blink such as the spoon-kill seen in the trailer which though it sounds really cool happens faster than I can snap my fingers and  by the time I want to awe the wonder of man achieving to kill another with a spoon that  moment’s gone. And that alongside the absurd nature of some of the villains did make me understand all the mixed reviews out there. There is a scene that happens at Rose’s (Leguizamo [who’s awesome by the way]) house that promised some exciting, artistically creative action scene that was dismissed and replaced with lame henchmen trying to kill our protagonist. But, as it goes on the film does compose itself, its almost as if two different people filmed the first action films and that person was replaced by some insane choreographer that actually understood that matched Landis’s creative nature and was able to perfectly present it on screen with the scene at Eisenberg’s and that final confrontation which is amazing. Something I really admired in all these scenes was the use of the vulnerable hero, half of the time while I was watching this film I felt quite bad for Eisenberg’s character as he came out with an unrecognizably bruised face after each battle, badly bleeding and probably ultra confused about the whole situation more and more dangerous agents confront him as the night goes on. Talking about those agents, whilst the film does deal with using men as weapons the evil henchmen of this film are way too weird, from Laugher whose character is sort-of redeemed by the end of it to all those other non-speaking goons they completely threw me off from the beating heart of the beautiful love story at the core of this film. A relationship that is well done and even has a moment that made me think back to Marla and the Narrator’s relationship from Fight Club, except the director, Nourizadeh decided to include this completely unnecessary epilogue which could’ve easily been cut out. That being said I was quite entertained for the majority of American Ultra, especially its second half, leaving me to rate the film at a 70 out of 100.


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