Swanner: I never thought I’d be writing one Jesse Eisenberg film review after another, yet here I am doing just that. American Ultra follows Mike Howell (Eisenberg), a stoner that works in convenience store in a little who cares town, who is also a sleeper cell for the CIA. Yes, this is very much a comical take on movies like The Bourne Identity. The difference here is Mike doesn’t want to know what’s hidden in his brain because he’s too stoned to care. The CIA doesn’t understand it and decides he’s too dangerous to have around and sends in the big guys to take him out.
Now, Mike and his girlfriend (Kristen Stewart) are on the run from the thugs coming to terminate him. I really loved the film, probably because I’m not a fan of the sleeper cell genre. (Yes, this is a genre… I just made it up.) All the things that make me roll my eyes in those other films made me laugh here. Director Nima Nourizadeh (Project X) and Max Landis (Chronicle) prove that they are better than their filmographies by creating a fast paced, funny, action film and just let it go crazy. They took the genre and made the same movie, but campy and over the top. (Am I the only one shaking my head as Bourne bounced from rooftop to rooftop?) The rest of the cast, Connie Britton, Tony Hale, Topher Grace, John Leguizamo and Bill Pullman are all just as good as the two leads… and yes, I mean Kristen Stewart.
It’s seems odd to be saying this, but, American Ultra has found it’s way to my top ten list of the year and with my dislike of the very genre it belongs, I doubt it falling off that list. So I feel confident in saying this is not only one of my favorite films this year, but it’s also one of the best.
Swanner: 4 stars