I like to think of myself as an expert at what makes a great action flick. In American Assassin I was seeing all of the ingredients on the screen that could entertain, but what it amounts to is a missed opportunity. The reason being, director Michael Cuesta (Kill the Messenger) seems unwilling to show restraint and sends every moment blazing over the top when he could have settled for a solid genre flick. With a strong cast of actors, including the return of Maze Runner star Dylan O’Brien, American Assassin is a blood soaked action/thriller, that leaves you with little reason to care.
When you begin the way Byung-Gil Jung’s The Villainess does, it’s hard to keep up the pace. The Hardcore Henry inspired opening, which involves a sword wielding Sook-hee (Ok-bin Kim) rampaging her way through a hallway of men, slicing and stabbing, leaving bodies on the floor, it will get your heart racing, like you just ran a marathon. Problem is, that it’s not enough to make you love it. The Villainess is saved by some of the most fascinating and exciting action sequences of the year, but it could have done without a bogged down script of repetitive drama.